published Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

2 Walker County officials switch to GOP

by Andy Johns

Two Democratic Walker County officials announced Tuesday they are switching to the Republican Party.

Sheriff Steve Wilson and Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker made the announcement Tuesday at a county Republican meeting.

"I've been thinking about it a long time," said Walker, who was first elected as a Democrat 11 years ago. "It's been a battle, but it's something I just I feel I needed to do."

Wilson said he didn't like the term "switching," but he said his political leanings no longer are represented in the national and state Democratic parties.

"My personal beliefs and values do not line up with those beliefs," said Wilson, who first was elected in 1996.

Walker County Republican Party Chairman Nathan Smith welcomed the two officials.

"I know they both have deep conservative values and did serious soul-searching to determine which party truly represented their values," Smith said. "They have a history with the county Democratic Party, so this was a major decision that required serious thought and prayer."

Walker said she was "one of the most conservative people in elected office" and the change will not affect anything she does as tax commissioner.

"There's nothing political about my job," she said. "If you owe taxes, it's my job to collect them."

Wilson agreed.

"I'll put on my pants the same way tomorrow morning as I did this morning," he said. "I'll be the same sheriff I've been for 15 years."

Keith Fults, a Republican, also announced he was running for tax commission.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Strong Political parties exist for the purpose of installing people to positions of power and influence in government. It is the same all over the world. To do this they compete with the opposition for support of the electorate by inciting passion over issues of the time. Whether the issues have to do with the economy, national security, individual liberties, the environment, Constitutional interpretations, or matters of moral and social conscience, parties stake claim to various convictions then pretend, as necessary, that they have always been philosophically faithful to their positions. However, this is done to gain support in terms of dollars and votes for their own candidates. People are attracted to particular parties over single wedge-issues like abortion or gun control and discount other party positions. The association of any party over time with a particular political philosophy is problematic at best. The distinction between liberal and conservative political philosophies and the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States, over time tends to blur. Philosophies and allegiances have switched back and forth over the years. For example, after the Civil War, most whites in the South became Southern Democrats. Then, following the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many of these Democrats switched over to support Republican candidates. Steve and Carolyn are just catching up. Political parties come and go. Sometimes the names stay the same, but the philosophies and respective positions on issues change according to the winds of war and fortune. It is impossible to separate politics from economics. It is all about power and influence. I remember a quote I read from Winston Churchill that has always stuck with me. Any man (ed. or woman) who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains. Winston Churchill, Sir (1874-1965). It can make you smile a bit regardless of what affiliation you have. The Republican Party has now become so conservative, so entrenched in principle that, in my judgment, it has lost broader appeal to many moderates and independents. It will either have to reinvent itself as a more inclusive party advocating something other than failed economic and diplomatic principles and appeasement of special interest groups like the NRA, big oil, big pharmacy, big finance, defense industries and fundamental Christian groups. My great hope is that Voters of all hues; liberals, moderates and “fiscal” conservatives, together with Independents , Republicans and Democrats will unite for the upcoming election bring needed change to Washington’s, business-as-usual, my-turn-move-over approach to doing the people’s business. This time around, we need someone in the White House who will be honest with us and who will be President for all Americans.

November 16, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
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