Fangirling Our Elected Officials

I’ll confess once again: I’m a fangirl of small town celebrities. You know the ones. The actors on stage at the community theater and the musicians playing in the park. But let’s not forget the political small town celebrities, like the mayor, the aldermen, and the sheriff. I could lump the president of the water board into the mix, but he’s my husband and we don’t want John to get a big head.


We can all agree that if we travel to big cities like New York City, Chicago, or Houston we wouldn’t see any of their officials strolling through downtown, stopping in the coffee shop for a drink and a chat, and dropping into the quilt shop to have a look see. But in our small town of Grand Cane, Louisiana, those events actually take place. Okay, I made that last one up—to my knowledge, Sheriff Jayson Richardson has never dropped into Homemade Quilts N’ More. But it could happen.


A few weeks ago some of our candidates came together in the family life center of Grand Cane Baptist Church. The purpose? To give the voters a chance to meet the men and women on the November ballot, hear what they had to say, and ask a few questions. John insisted we had to go, something about civic duty.


“Honey, I already know who I’m voting for! No one’s going to say anything to change my mind.” But my husband, who bleeds red, white, and blue, marched me out the door. Boy, do I hate it when he’s right.


I learned a lot about all the candidates, and most confirmed my opinions. But a few changed my mind. Why? First, I like to vote for experience, which means I usually vote for incumbents. For one position, the guy already in office hit us with a list of accomplishments, then finished with words to the effect of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it folks. Then the new guy, with no direct experience, talked about doing things better, making improvements to be more efficient. He hit me with a breath of fresh air. I decided change can be good, and I’ve switched my vote.


I changed my vote for another candidate, because of his wife. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Oh sure, he struck me as a great guy. He demonstrated competency and knowledge, along with a good deal of experience—pretty much like the other candidates.


And then I met his wife after the forum. From her greeting I felt a kinship. We connected, and I could see myself meeting her at the coffee shop for a drink and a chat. We voiced similar stories and laughed about our shared experiences. And I thought to myself, if this woman is this amazing and wonderful, she wouldn’t put up with anything less from her husband. Oh sure, I know what you’re thinking. Now Jann, that’s simply not true! History tells us of many great women saddled with an albatross of a husband. But when this woman’s husband walked up beside her, wound his fingers between hers, tucked his chin just a bit down towards her face so he could gaze in her eyes, I just knew. Yeah, he knows what a precious woman his wife is, and how blessed his life became the day she married him. If he’s smart enough to figure that out, then he’s got my vote.


And then I met the candidate sharing a camper with her husband, son, two dogs and a cat. She’s campaigning, remodeling a hundred year old house, and still holding down a full time job. Did I mention everyone’s still alive, after living this way for two years? If this woman doesn’t deserve  vote or two, I don’t know who does.  


Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at You can reach her at