Beer Cheese and the GOP, please

Ienjoyed the Beer Cheese Festival in downtown Winchester this weekend. I ran into some good friends I hadn’t seen in a while, met some new people and made some new friends.

I wanted to spend some time “holding down the fort” and thanks to a few wind gusts, I did exactly that.

My group wanted to share information with anyone willing to listen. We discussed our last meeting, in which the President of the Kentucky Coal Association J. Tyler White spoke.

The information he shared was very insightful, demonstrating the need to continue research on renewable energy resources.

As he stated, coal is very important to Kentucky, but the importance as we know it is more of a historical matter these days. We have entered a time where newer, cleaner energy resources are needed.

Even if the demand for coal was still prevalent, advanced technology would most certainly take over in its removal. At this time, the mining industry remains a grim picture.

Fortunately, our beautiful state has an abundance of additional resources that can lead to a brighter, more colorful picture. We need to be a part of the bigger, national and worldly picture in using these resources to create improved forms of energy.

Such technology and improved highway systems can create jobs, improve communities and boost the economy. Our administration will continue working in the state as well as with groups across the nation to see such things come to fruition.

At the festival, we also had individuals asking us to help them with voter registration, changes of address and switching their political party of choice. During our discussions, a few people informed me they would like to switch to the GOP, but someone in their family would disown them should they do so.

Some made the statement with a smile, tongue in cheek remark. But with others, I could see the seriousness in their eyes.

This reminded me of several other people I know, but most notably to myself.

I grew up in a Democratic family. When I turned 18, I had two things leading me to my choice of party. First, I knew my father was a Democrat and, therefore, I needed to be a Democrat. Secondly, my high school government teacher, who walked the entire class to the courthouse to register, was also a Democrat. He didn’t encourage us, but as impressionable young adults, we knew what he preferred.

After graduation, I attended Morehead State University, where I majored in political science. Through my studies, I began to feel I was not on the right side of the aisle based on my personal stances. But, hey, my dad still told me I was a Democrat.

In reality, it wasn’t until I moved to Winchester and became as involved in the community as I could be, I really knew the right thing I should do and the change I should make.

In my defense, my former parties’ ideologies were drifting farther left than my personal beliefs could go.

It’s okay to follow what you believe in. No one knows how you feel better than yourself. Not your parents, grandparents, teachers or friends.

I’m not trying to persuade anyone to join my party, but I am trying to persuade you to choose what fits you and your beliefs best.

There is nothing wrong with family values, but there is especially nothing wrong with being who you are.

Me, I believe in the power of the Constitution, less government involvement in my life, lower taxation through improved spending and the freedom to live my life in the direction I want to take it through the choices I make.

For me, this is a wonderful start.

Lastly, there was a young lady who had just recently turned 18. When she saw she could register to vote at our booth, I thought she was going to knock people down to grab a pen and paper.

She said she believed in what we represented and was excited to make her voice heard.

Whether you are advancing in years or just becoming of voting age, your voice should be heard. Just ensure that it’s your voice being heard based on what you believe.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict, the man before the dollar.” Now there’s something to chew on for awhile.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester his home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at wrcollins70@gmail.com