I finally called George Hanns this afternoon to ask about his intentions for running for re-election next year, and he was gracious enough to answer the phone while he was in the middle of watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the movie theater.
Are you going to run?
Hanns, who is in the last 18 months or so of his sixth term as a county commissioner, is well known for his sense of humor. He’s about 5-foot-4, wears a thin mustache, speaks in a nasally voice, and always — always — has a smile on his face. He bakes lasagna and, a former carpenter, calls himself more of a “scrapper” than a “diplomat.”
So, is he going to run for a seventh term in 2016? He said he was undecided and would let me know after Jan. 1. Among the factors will be his age (he’ll be 69 in October) and the notion that he wants to be able to approve of the person who would eventually take his place.
“I’ll tell you the truth,” he said, “it would be special if someone was going to run that would continue in my vein, to be considerate and vote for the right things and so on. I would hate for someone who has a radical outlook on life to come in there and disrupt the County Commission and the amicability we have with each other.”
He said the current board is not driven by politics, and he would be concerned that someone from, for example, the Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly, would be driven more by politics and negativity than a desire to make the county great.
What about Donald O’Brien? I asked him. O’Brien, a Republican, told me he would run if Hanns didn’t. Hanns said he is “an honorable person, a very good man.” And, Hanns joked, O’Brien would also satisfy Hanns’ requirement that his successor be no taller than 5-foot-7. He said that his announcement in early 2016 would still give “credible” candidates like O’Brien plenty of time to run an effective campaign.
Take Back America?
As an aside, he said that he recently pulled up next to someone with a “Take Back America” bumper sticker. He rolled down his window and asked the person if he was from the Ronald Reagan group. The man said, “Yeah, what’s your problem?”
“So I said to him, ‘Why are you driving a foreign car if you’re so American?’” Hanns recalled. Then again, he said, “It’s what America is made up of, pro and con.”
Support from the Democratic Party?
Hanns said he’s not sure if any Democrats are going to run, “but if they do, they better be good.”
In fact, he said he hasn’t had a lot of support from the party over the years. “The Democratic party has hardly said thank you for 25 years of service,” he said, although there is going to be a get-together from 2 to 5 p.m. June 14, at High Jackers, to commemorate 25 years of service (including two years at the Palm Coast Service Commission). Hanns quipped, “Most of my Republican friends are going to show up.”
The conversation ended, and I thanked him for taking some time away from “Mad Max.”
“I’m sure about 175 people have been killed by now, so I’m sure I didn’t miss much,” Hanns said.