Man, I must have been totally asleep at the switch last Friday, because I missed the announcement that Larry Kissell of Biscoe will be running for Robin Hayes's seat in Congress. Maybe I missed it because I have no idea who Larry Kissell is. In fact, I'm surprised to learn that there's a Biscoe, NC (population 1,700). But not only do I now know who Kissell is, I think I may kind of like him.
A former textile mill manager who started teaching high school social studies when his mill moved to Mexico (free trade much?), Kissell is making his first forray into politics a big one, but in a small town way. At his campaign debut, there were speeches by Kissell's former high school principal and some of Kissell's present students, and there was a goat named CAFTA (the very first campaign contribution). How can you not like this guy?
Kissell said standing up to make the announcement was surreal.
"I am standing here in a coat and tie, people actually came and they look happy. I have no name recognition, no money and people are asking me what was I thinking. This is not what I want to be doing. Running for Congress was not on my life's to-do list," Kissell told the approximately 120 friends who gathered at the East Montgomery High School auditorium.
Kissell, who began teaching after his mill job went away, has a poster in his classroom that says, "The problem with doing nothing is knowing when you are finished."
"Well, I am finished doing nothing. I have the passion to say what needs to be said. I am a worker. I have payments to make like everybody else. I want to take this (congressional) seat back and be a voice for the working American," Kissell said.
Gosh, ma'am, I didn't reckon on runnin' for Congress! Kissell has a daunting task ahead of him—it sounds like where money and connections are concerned, he's starting from near zero. But am I crazy to imagine a clean primary among Dunn, Kissell, and Scher that gets people excited about the issues and ready to get behind the winner?
I know, I know: it's only one article. Who knows what's in Kissell's closet. We'll see! I'm off to set up a new batch of Google Alerts and Technorati Watchlists.