Mar. 28, 2017

Sheldon Butts

I was sitting at home minding my own business when this very handsome couple knocked on my door passing out flyers for their son, Sheldon Butts. “He’s running for the 2015 seat on City Council,” they explained, “Vote for Sheldon!” I took the flyer and read the little ad that was on his flyer and then picked up the phone and called him.

We agreed to meet at 700 Modern on Front Street for lunch where I introduced him to John Cranston, the owner of the popular eatery. I noticed right off that while Sheldon had his mother’s dazzling smile, he was very charismatic and handsome like his father. You cannot miss these things about him, but I wanted to know about the whole package. What makes Sheldon Butts a good candidate for City Council? He’s certainly has the right look for a politician but I want to know his thoughts and views so I began my questions.

He is a 43-year-old father of four. After having served a total of 16 years in the armed services, he resigned his commission as a captain. “My wife, also in the military, was getting ready to deploy to Iraq,” Sheldon explained. “I decided after having been deployed myself and just returning that I wanted to stay home with my children so she could go.”

“So you’re married?” I asked.

“No, not anymore. Sadly, we’ve been divorced since 2013. My wife and I, both being military, sort of grew apart.”

I asked what kind of work Sheldon did in the military and he told me about his work as a police officer. Although, he’s been offered a job here on the police force, he’s turned it down.

“What do you do now that you’re no longer a Captain in the military or working as a police officer?”

“I’m a resource teacher at Georgetown High School,” he answered. “My passion is to teach Government Economics or at least, Social Studies.”

Ryan, our waiter had brought over some sushi rolls for us as a snack. He continued coming back to check on us for drink refills and ordering. Sheldon had never tried sushi before so it was a nice treat for him. While we munched on our appetizer, we talked about a lot of different things, parenting or lack of parenting in some children, his past work in Washington DC, and his education. Sheldon was primed to work at the Pentagon prior to returning to Georgetown.

“However, I believe this is where I need to be,” he explained of his decision to turn down the government position. “It’s not always about the money. Sometimes, you just want to be somewhere to help others. You need to be where you’re happy.”

Sheldon graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He majored in International Relations with a minor in Military Science where he had picked up his military police career.

“What made you decide to come back to Georgetown and run for City Council?” I asked taking a bit of my spicy crab roll.

“Well, after reading Pastor Rick Warren’s best seller, I found a purpose. As I said, I believe it’s where I need to be. I’ve kind of sat back and read the papers in Georgetown, I’ve listened to the different people, and I feel that Georgetown needs a voice. I’d like to be that voice for our town so I’ve decided to run for office myself.

“I believe that anytime a person makes their (political) position their possession, we have a problem because the (political) office is for the people and not for that particular person and their position.

“Many people believe that if you’re a democrat or a republican you can’t share the same beliefs and that’s not true. There are some people who, without even listening to my views, will not vote for me simply because I’m a democrat while equally, others will for me because I’m a democrat and it shouldn’t be that way. More times than people realize both parties often have the same thoughts and the same goals. I hate that our politics are divided on the ballots as Republican and Democrat. People should be allowed to vote for the person, not the party.”

“That’s right,” I said, “It’s very true. If I decide to vote Republican in the June 9th primaries, I won’t be able to vote for you.”

Sheldon nodded in agreement. “I believe there should be a box on the ballots marked ‘Common Sense,’ because I’m not just a Democrat, I’m also one of the people and you should be able to vote for whom you want, not what party you are affiliated with.”

“So, you’ve returned home to Georgetown to bring your message which is what?” I asked as Ryan brought our food to the table.

“My message is that it’s time for a change and that time is now,” he answered. I noticed he checked the time at which time he apologized. “I’m sorry. It’s family tradition to have Sunday dinner after church and I try to maintain traditional family values.”

I liked that; him having the traditional family values. In today’s time, it’s a lost concept but a very important one to have. Promising to wrap things up soon, I asked, “But you were in Washington DC, why Georgetown?”

“Why not? I’d like to bring something to my hometown where I was born and raised and I’d like to give back to it. I’d like to see more people staying here in Georgetown instead of leaving to live elsewhere. I’d like to give them a reason to stay.”

“You know, Sheldon, you shouldn’t use the ‘change’ slogan,” I said laughing, “It’s an Obama thing.”

“Well, I’d like to bring about good changes that would help better the town,” he stated with a smile. “For instance, when I was in school we had mock trials. I’d like to bring that back. It was an idea I learned in my adolescence.”

“Can you explain a mock trial?”

“A mock trial is run by the students. Everyone involved, whether they are witness, jury members, attorney, or defendant, they are a student. The only adult in the trial is the judge. Each side argues their case, the jury deliberates, and the judge monitors the case, just like in real court. This teaches the students how to handle themselves without violence, it teaches them how to articulate their concerns, and it helps to build confidence and self-esteem.”

Again, Sheldon was right. That is something these students in Georgetown sorely need. I think that is an awesome idea and that I will support it 100%. As we wrapped up our meeting and Sheldon headed to his mother’s for Sunday dinner, I understood a little more of what he meant by “it’s not about the money.”

In all of the things Sheldon talked about and the different ideas he’d like to implement and/or encourage for Georgetown, not one thing had to do with money. None of his ideas will cost the taxpayers a dime. Instead, they are ideas that help to better each person individually which will ultimately better the town as a whole.

Although, we both agreed that “we say what mean and mean what we say” and we may not always say it the right way, we do try. “It’s the same with being a Christian,” Sheldon said, “I’m not perfect and never professed to be. I just profess to be dedicated.”

That’s exactly what we need here in Georgetown: dedication. Although I’m a Democrat turned Independent, I will certainly be at the voting booths on June 9 to vote for Sheldon Butts. Won’t you join me?