I’ve just finished writing an article a meeting I covered last week in Ste. Genevieve. It was a notable meeting to cover as it was State Rep. Dale Wright, R-Farmington, speaking to the Ste. Genevieve Democratic Club.
As a disclaimer, I am the secretary of the Ste. Genevieve Republican Club and was an active member of Dale Wright’s campaign for state representative. I don’t list these things to promote myself or to push a particular political viewpoint, but as a context for the reader to understand the reason for this column and my thought process and the intentions in writing the article. I have absolutely no intentions to mislead anyone in the article, I attempted to be fair and even-handed in reporting both “sides” of the meeting. If the reader perceives differently, it was simply unintentional and an error on my part.
As the result of the above factors, I spent a much longer time self-editing the article in an attempt to be an honest broker in presenting the meeting in a straightforward way. When writing articles that I have no particular side for or against, it can still be difficult to present the correct picture of what actually was said. When listening to recordings of interviews or meetings in even those cases, I find that often what I thought I heard was not what was actually said. Having a bias or an interest to one side can greatly magnify this issue.
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Of course the meeting at times became tense, as conversations on sometimes radically opposing viewpoints sometimes do. Fortunately, no one threw rotten tomatoes — I humorously "threatened" Rep. Wright before the meeting that I was going to provide some to make for good photos to go along with my story — and the meeting stayed relatively civil on all sides.
I met people that night that I already knew and also met some new people in the process. I had pleasant conversations with every one of them after the meeting, we usually ended up agreeing on many things.
I credit both the Ste. Genevieve Democratic Club and Rep. Dale Wright for the way the meeting went. The leaders of the club went out of their way to welcome Wright and listened to his viewpoints that were often contrary to those of their organization. Wright made it clear that the people in that room, who probably did not vote for him, were his constituents too and were to have a voice in the legislative process.