When the news crew shows up, you know something’s going on. Last night’s Meet & Greet for Tony Abad in Mart, was explosive. This was not a Candidate Forum, or a Debate. It was an event paid for and intended to allow Tony to meet with local residents from Mart and surrounding rural cities.
But when Commissioner Lester Gibson showed up, in his Campaign car with Gibson signs and Speaker Units, I knew the night would be interesting.
Introduction and Presentation
Tony began his presentation and talked a few minutes about himself and his life at L3. He talked about his community involvement and led into a 20 minute presentation (Slide Show) about his plan to repair roads, identify problems, and outlined a new Road Grading System, where roads were repaired by priority according to the condition.
He continued his presentation, introducing a new plan to create the Precinct 2 Rural Leadership Council, in which quarterly meetings would take place at rotating city locations.
The crowd was mixed. To some, nothing Tony said, would be correct. Others were there from around Elk, Axtell, Hallsburg, who have been complaining to Gibson for many years about their road conditions. They were obviously Tony Abad supporters and ready for a change in leadership.
Question and Answer
After Tony’s presentation, he opened the floor to questions from the floor. Immediately, they asked if he would essentially denounce the article I wrote. Tony basically said I was entitled to my opinion and confirmed he had no advance knowledge of the article. Others asked the same question in different ways. Each time, Tony deferred to my right to write what I wanted. He said I was in the back corner, and would be happy to speak about the article, but he wanted to focus on issues.
Another question came out…and another. Tony answered to the best of his ability. Based on the fact he does not have access to all information and insight as a sitting Commissioner, some felt he did not provide enough detail.
Gibson goes too far
About halfway through the question period, you could hear Lester Gibson beginning to add his 2 cents on the tail of a response. “I’m just glad to see Mr. Abad can talk. I’ve never heard him talk before,” said Gibson, as some laughed and chuckled. Up till then, Gibson had only been taking pictures of Tony and the presentation slides. A second time, Gibson spoke up and added his “expertise” to the conversation.
At this time, people must have felt, “OK. Here’s the actual commissioner who’s been avoiding my calls and not repairing our roads, and he’s interrupting Tony’s meeting? Since he won’t return my calls, I better talk to him now.”
And they did. One man turned around to Gibson and said, “Why haven’t you fixed our roads in Elk?” Gibson tried to say he had, but the man responded quickly saying, “No you haven’t! I live in Elk, and you haven’t been there.” Another man turned to Gibson and said, “I’m on the Hallsburg City Council. I’ve been on the council for at least two years, and I’ve never seen you at one of our meetings.”
Gibson was obviously offended by their direct challenge, and stood up, raising his voice, calling them “misinformed.” At this point, a man said, “I’ve been trying to get my road fixed for 4 years. You don’t return my calls,” then he said to Gibson, who was inches from him, “You should leave.” Gibson motioned to his wife and said, “Let’s go,” and they walked out of’ the meeting.
Fortunately, during this episode, Tony kept his cool and brought everyone back to the conversation.
Meeting after the Meeting
After the questions ended, Tony called the meeting to and end, and the real mingling began.
I had to answer to the people for my article and explained how I came up with my story. I was honest about my mistake and ensured them I had no ill intent for their city or their effort.
They may not have liked us, but they knew we were at least willing to go there and stand face-to-face with the people. We talked to Henry Witt III for nearly an hour after the event. Mayor of Hallsburg was talking to Witt III about joint issues and told of his frustrations with Gibson. Henry Witt III is definitely passionate about saving Mart. He and his friends believe in the City. And if Elected, I know Tony will continue to work with them as they work out the complex issues they face.
I missed the piece on Channel 10, but I heard they just turned it into a Bashing Mart story. I don’t think the reporter felt we were ”
bashing” Mart. Wonder who, at Channel 10 is in Lester Gibson’s camp? They didn’t care to hear Tony’s plan. They just wanted his response to the article. Sad waste of expensive air time.
Below, you will see a write-up on Facebook from Heather Michum. She was there and wrote this last night after the Meet & Greet in Mart.
I am happy to say that I was able to attend the meet and greet for Tony Abad that took place at the Mart Community center tonight. Even though Lester Gibson and the Mart City Council was not in favor of Tony Abad hosting this evening, Mr. Abad showed how brave and passionate he is and showed up anyway.
Lester Gibson and the City Council all showed up personally to ask questions, to try and intimidate Tony. They were laughing and acting very childish/immature while Tony was speaking. I found this very rude and I was not impressed with the Council at all. SMH!! (Scratching My Head)
I know everyone has their opinion, but there is such a thing called “Class” and I felt as if Tony Abad passed with flying colors. He spoke from the heart and presented to be educated about the matter and very personable.
Now…..Lester Gibson showed what type of guy he is and left halfway through the meeting due to becoming upset and letting his temper get the Best of him. I found it very odd for Lester Gibson to show up tonight and a bit awkward , especially when he was taking pictures with his phone of the slideshow slides that Tony Abad was presenting to us.
Lol!! I guess Mr. Gibson was taking notes???
Please be sure to vote for Tony Abad for Precinct 2 County Commissioner!!! Lets take back our community and be PROUD!!!