What we think: Sen. Tapp's decision must be an opportunity

-A A +A
By The Staff

Sen. Gary Tapp’s surprise announcement last week that he would not seek re-election is  bittersweet for the voters of Shelby County and his entire district.

Mr. Tapp has served his constituents loyally and with passion for the past 12 years, and he has been true to those who elected him, a conservative base that makes up the core of the voters in Shelby, as last fall’s election results attested.

Mr. Tapp ‘s announcement of his departure comes at a point of high controversy because of his initiation of Senate Bill 68, which would have placed further and perhaps unnecessary restrictions on the types of person who can be adoptive or foster parents.

For those efforts – which ran out of time before they could be considered fully by the General Assembly – he became the target of individuals, groups, editorial writers and cartoonists who thought his logic perhaps was ill-conceived.

That said, Mr. Tapp will have at least two more legislative sessions to carve his legacy, and we will thank him in the end for all he has done in fighting for Shelby County to get its fair shares of dollars and attention from our state’s leaders.

Now we have an opportunity for new blood in this extremely important role.

Rep. Brad Montell, who many would have considered the logical heir, said he would not run for the Senate, and Mr. Tapp in his retirement statement endorsed Paul Hornback, a Shelby County farmer and a political novice.

We do not endorse candidates, and we welcome the ideas and perspectives Mr. Hornback will bring to the discussion.

But we also equally encourage other individuals – no matter their political affiliations or levels of experience – to step forward in these incredibly difficult and delicate times.

Decision-making by our leaders never has been more difficult. Every step – no matter how well-informed – requires hairs to be split and toes to be squashed. Nothing is simple and straight-forward, even if the merit of the required result is without question.

And what we need in our leadership is a maturity and an insight that is not automatically found in each person who wants the job. 

We in Shelby County are  a bit spoiled. One of our own has for decades held this seat that also represents Spencer and more populous Bullitt counties. We don’t want to lose that toehold for lack of the right fit for all the voters.

So now is the time to raise your hand and join Mr. Hornback in developing the issues for all of us to review. No idea or voice is a bad one, no ear will be deaf, and no mind will be closed.

Because we simply can’t afford to be that way.