Years ago I had been very involved in Martha Gjesteby’s first, second and third campaigns for the BOS, but when it came to her running for her fourth term, we had a falling out about something political and I supported someone else.
We remained friends, but what I had done was always there, between us. When she sought to run for her fourth term again, this year, I got a “do-over,” a chance to help her make her fourth term on the BOS come true.
Months before Martha decided to run, she was on the warpath – looking for a selectman candidate to run against the very popular chairman of the board. She accosted people in the street, knocked on their doors, called them on the telephone. People would see her coming and lock their doors. “No, I don’t want to be selectman!” they would protest. After-all, asking someone to run for selectman is not quite like asking for a donation to the PSO.
She came very close to getting a candidate. But finally, she came to the realization she would just have to do it herself. And she did. One day she called me and told me she was running.
She added: “I will be my own campaign manager,” and she immediately sat down and started going through her list of names, old and new. This time she had her son Rolfe helping her with signs, and with some of the younger voters. Other friends came forth with advice, and encouragement. Strange as it seems, everybody on her side thought she actually might be the perfect candidate. She was an elder stateswoman, and throughout the years she had been very respected on the many boards she served.
Martha was upset over a lot of things the BOS was doing and not doing. She felt they needed some advice on running the public’s business. She thought they were uncivil.
The turn-out was very low. The school families never turned out for the other candidate. Many of Martha’s supporters were absent too. But at the end of Saturday, Martha eked out what was a 47 point win. No one was more surprised than Martha. I was sitting beside her at town hall. A few moments before the announcement, Martha said “Well, tomorrow my life will return to normal, and I will have lunch with the bowling team because none of us really bowl very well and lunch is what we really go for,” and she rambled off a few more things.
And then she won, and her face reddened, her opponent marched right over to her and wished her well, and she was sworn in. Just like that, her life had changed.
At 83 years of age she had won the hearts of many in the community who admired her spunk and her verve. They saw her waving signs at the overpasses on 3A. On election day they saw her at the polls all day until 6 p.m. when the polls closed.
She may not do her run Sunday morning, but on Monday she will do her mile and a half run down Pleasant Street and around the block and back. Her blood pressure is excellent. She is a perfect weight. This summer she will do laps at Sandy Beach.
And on Tuesday nights she will assist the BOS in running town government. And she will do it all very well because she is a very orderly person.
And the BOS could use some order.© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed