Charlotte Nash makes a good impression

I had thought about the interview for a couple weeks, curious about the woman. Charlotte Nash said she was in a meeting and suggested I have coffee. I found the jury room and had my name put back in the pool.

Upon returning we went to a conference room. She responded to questions using terms such as ethics, honesty, morality, words I like. She smiled a refreshing smile.

She is Chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Commission. I soon realized she was not a typical politician. I heard no double talk. Having been around for over eight decades I can recognize a glib sharpshooter.

“You said you were a public servant. That phrase can be misleading today,” I said.

“I’m in the process of improving that conception,” she said.

As we talked, impressions began to form; pleasant, sincere, dedicated. Nash seemed like a nice person. We were both born on a farm and slopped pigs when we were young. Our backgrounds indicated similar philosophies.

“Why did you decide to do this?” I asked.

“I live in the county. I believe it is imperative to nurture confidence in government.”

“How’s it going?”

“I’ve been here a year, I’m encouraged.”

“Have developers and property owners been wooing you?”

“Not yet.”

“Are the financial gurus probing for fissures?”

“Not so far. But, life is a series of choices. We must avoid specific temptations.”

I asked where she got her standards. “My daddy was an honest man. I’m guided by memories of my family. They were conscientious,” she said. “Being responsible was natural back then.”

We triggered eye leakage when she talked about her maternal grandmother. “I learned a lot from her. She was kind, gentle and practiced the Old Golden Rule.”

I waited while she fussed with her eye. “I function today with memories of my childhood. I had a younger sister I adored. My church was a source of inspiration.”

We talked about trust, pride and character. I asked about negative campaigns. “As long as I feel like I am effective in my responsibility as chairwoman I will continue in office although I dread campaigning, it has become contentious, much too polarizing.”

Remembering the legend of infamy in the Gwinnett Commission I got around to the main reason for wanting to meet with Charlotte Nash. I hesitated. I needed to be tactful.

“Have you been offered questionable compensation since taking office?”

Unhesitatingly…“No, I have not been offered questionable compensation since taking office. My theory is that the best way to avoid that happening is having the right kind of reputation.”

Another superlative popped up, principled.

She said, “Everyone has a purpose that drives them. I intend to nurture respect for government.”

Wow! A convictionist, too!

While driving home I wondered how we could get that lady cloned!

Bill York has lived in Stone Mountain for 35 years. Email him at

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