Democrat Leslie Fatum, who represents the 3rd District on the Howard County Council, sends this Cheer for the candidacy of Abbie Smith for Kokomo mayor:

"I’ve been a lifelong Democrat, even before I became eligible to vote in 1974. As an African American born in Detroit, Michigan, I was strongly influenced by my parents, who were Civil Rights activists and public-school teachers who belonged to a strong union.

"As a young child, I was deeply affected by their reactions to the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. I was enthralled by Shirley Chisolm’s presidential run in 1972; Barbara Jordan’s commanding statement on the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon, and her subsequent Keynote Address to the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

"I voted for Democrats in local, state and federal elections whenever and wherever I was able to do so, throughout my varied academic and professional experiences. I attended law school with the idea of possibly going into politics, but after working for city and state governments, I became more wary of taking that on. I ran for my seat on the Howard County Council somewhat reluctantly, because I knew that I would be facing another Democrat in the primary election; but I was also convinced that it was time for someone with a more energized focus on the issues that are important to Democrats in Kokomo and Howard County to take that seat.

"In other words, I had no intention of abandoning the principles that we, as Democrats, have made the foundation of our party: to support the rights of workers, fight income inequality, fight discrimination, take care of those who are unable to care for themselves, treat women as equals, and create a more liberal and tolerant society that respects differences. Therefore, when I joined the Howard County Democratic Party and then decided to run for office, I assumed the other members held the same views with respect to their allegiance to the party and its principles.

"However, when Kevin Summers announced his run for Kokomo mayor before Mayor Goodnight had made public his decision not to run, I realized that some of my fellow 'Democrats' were not like me. I had given Summers the benefit of the doubt concerning his previous status as a Republican, and that action infuriated me, because I knew that he had abandoned the pretense of being a true Democrat. In addition, information that I learned from firsthand sources about his history with Kokomo Schools and in the community further intensified this belief. His support of Tyler Moore came as no surprise, because by the time he came out as the person he truly is, I had already been canvassing for Abbie Smith – and noticing the lawns where his signs were being displayed did not belong to Democratic voters.

I must laugh at the irony of having my support of Abbie become a source of outrage for Kokomo Brief commenters, who decried this as somehow being 'unfair' and evidence of the 'party’s' bias towards Kevin. The truth of the matter is that I went against Kathy Skile’s request to 'play nice' before the primary; as I told her, if Abbie didn’t win the primary, there would be no opportunity for me to support her in the general election, and I was not acting on behalf of the party, but rather as a private citizen.

"I also heard from some sources that Kevin only ran to help Tyler Moore in his race. Thankfully, Abbie did win; and I continue to work as hard as I can for her to win this election. Now we have Norris Jones writing a public statement asserting his support of Moore.

"After all of the support he received not just from me, the party, and other Democrats, this is more than a slap in the face – it is a slap in the face of all of those voters who voted a 'straight ticket,' because they believed Jones stood for the same principles that they did. And it is an incredibly disrespectful act towards Abbie Smith.

"I remember the time during the 2018 elections when Norris Jones stood in front of the Carver Center with a sign that declared Tyler Moore was a liar! I guess he would say that was 'just politics,' or something like that. I must admit, Republicans are better at 'politics' than we Democrats apparently are.

"They are also better at deflecting from obvious flaws in character and treatment of their fellow human beings – witness their inability to recognize the racist, misogynistic and corrupt practices of their colleagues, including the president. But I am proud that we are better at being true to ourselves and to the people we have pledged to serve.

"Most importantly, Abbie Smith is so far and away the best candidate for mayor that I have absolutely no regrets. I am confident that the good people of Kokomo will see what I see and vote accordingly."

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