|Chairman Joel Miller|
Photo Courtesy of Facebook
As reported here and elsewhere, the big fella, the grand poobah of the Marion County Democratic Party, our Chairman, is stepping aside, and we'll get a new head coach as of March 4. If all goes as planned, that new Chair will be Kate Sweeney Bell who I've known for just about as long as Joel.
I believe I first met Joel when he was the Executive Director of the Marion County Democatic Party. He was a guy about my age, and we hit it off from the start. Joel is funny, and he has some great stories. My journalist side was immediately drawn to those great stories.
Over time, our friendship has remained rock solid. When I thought about running for State Senate, I made a few phone calls, and Joel was one of them. He advised me to run and "Kick Mike Young's ass." I probably should have, but I wasn't ready for primetime then.
Eventually, Joel became the Chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, and I was, for a while, the only left-leaning blogger in town writing about politics. Never once has Joel told me what to write here. Now, I know he reads it because I've gotten phone calls on rare occasions he has disagreed with me. That's only happened maybe two times in four years. Joel's been extremely good with me, and always has made himself available for a comment when I've needed it. I appreciate that access to the Party Chair.
Finally, I'll never forget this. I have run for office twice here in Decatur Township and on the Southwest side. I didn't worry my opponent either time. In fact, it was quite clear that I wasn't going to even be competitive from the early returns. Still, Joel made it a point to come to me after my City-County Council race looked discouraging and tell me how proud he was that I got over 38 percent of the vote and had exceeded my baseline vote. It was a moment I will remember to hear my friend and my party chairman say, "I'm proud of you, brother. Good run."
So, thanks Joel. Thanks for being a great Marion County Democratic Party Chairman. In just four years, you've managed to accomplish much. Through your leadership and hard work, Marion County continues to lead the way for the Indiana Democratic Party. You've left things in great shape. Take a couple of hours off and then get right back to work. We need you in this fight, and I will look forward to covering whatever you decide to do next.