Stegall talks about traits he’ll bring to office
By Bob Robinson
Part two of two
“We’re both Alpha Males,” Darke County Commissioner-elect Mike Stegall said, referring to Commissioner Mike Rhoades and himself. “That’s why there are three of us.”
He said he’d heard that people expected Rhoades and him to butt heads.
Stegall acknowledged they probably will.
“(Greenville Township Trustee) Bill Kelly has a strong personality… we argue… we disagree, but we’re still friends,” Stegall said.
He said Kelly was against the township’s website. “Prove it to me,” he said.
So Stegall laid it out. Kelly said, “Okay, I see your point,” and they came to a consensus.
“I’m big on working with people,” Stegall said. “Anybody can talk to me. I’ve always been big and loud. It means I have confidence in myself, but not arrogance.”
He said he thought the makeup of the commissioners in 2011 would be a perfect balance.
“Diane (Commissioner Delaplane) is cautious. Mike and I are aggressive… we want to get it done!”
He said former township trustee George Luce was cautious, adding that he made them stop and think.
“Caution is only a problem when it becomes paralysis.
“I have no problem with Diane being cautious. It’s a good mix. At some point, though, we have to do something.”
Stegall agreed that good hard discussions can “get dirty,” but then said, “We do what we have to do… now let’s go have lunch.”
Following a close primary race, Stegall indicated he wasn’t sure why he received such a solid mandate in the November election.
“That’s a lot of trust,” he said, regarding his 52 percent of the vote in a general three-way election. “I was told it would be a close race because three were running. I thought I’d win… I was hoping by 600 votes.”
The Republican candidate received over 9,600 votes. His closest challenger Democrat Dave Niley received 6,138 votes. Independent Keith Smith was third with 2,679.
“Two days before, Rosemary (Stegall’s wife) said I’d win big. I tried not to be too confident.”
Stegall said he kept campaigning – going door to door – until the day before the election. He noted that a lady said “Honey, I voted for you on Oct. 2.”
“That was the last house I went to,” he said.
Stegall said he had one personality trait that might cause him a problem.
“I don’t know if I’m politically correct enough for this job,” he said. “I say ‘darling,’ ‘dear,’ ‘sugar babe,’ because I was brought up that way.”
Stegall gave an example from a recent purchase he made.
“I said, ‘thanks, sugar babe,’” he said. “The girl said, ‘what did you say to me?’ An older lady who was standing nearby said, ‘I thought it was cute.’”
He recalled his aunt – he was 17 at the time – patting him on the cheeks, telling him ‘what a purty baby’ he was.
“My family is good people,” he said. “Hard workers, and that’s just the way we are.”
Stegall is about as close to being a “hometown” boy as you can get without actually being born here… The first three days of life were spent in Richmond, Ind., then the family moved to Wayne Lakes, where he grew up.
Stegall said that while he will work to achieve the things on which he campaigned, he also needs the involvement of the media and community.
To the media… “Do your job. Ask the tough questions.”
To the community… “Government can’t do everything. If someone needs help, help them. We need community volunteerism in every area. If you can, take us out of the equation. Everyone would be better off.”
To the educators… “Start teaching the Constitution. This is a limited government. We need to be teaching history and the Constitution, not some perverted version of it.”
Stegall acknowledged that educators are often overwhelmed with the need to be babysitters. That falls back on the parents.
“My parents cared,” he said. “I thank God for that every day… and wish that for every kid in America.”
Stegall said he knew he is a “tremendous smart aleck” but plans to lead by example, promising that he will do nothing to embarrass the county or its people.
“Anybody can talk to me. I welcome it. Not everyone will agree with everything I do,” he said. “But I’ll tell you why. If you still don’t like it, that’s fine… but at least you’ll know where I’ve come from.”
Bob Robinson is a Senior Scribe and the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. You can read his comments, opinions and reports at http://opinionsbybob.blogspot.com. If you wish to receive a daily notification of items posted, send your email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.