Published in News and Citizen 11-24-15

Family First

    It may not be often that I speak highly of Shap Smith’s political views, but I’m in total agreement with him on his family values.
    His decision to forgo his political aspirations in order to spend more time with his family as his wife, Dr. Melissa Volansky, deals with breast cancer shows his commitment to family.
    I feel funny saying “I commend him for his decision…” because for my 53 cents, there isn’t a decision to be made, it’s just something you need to do and from what I know of Shap his thought process went right along those lines.
    As he explained in his announcement, this decision is not just about being there to support his wife.  He made a point of saying part of the plan while he was running for governor was Melissa would be the family representative at events in which their kids were involved.  With upcoming treatments being scheduled, that plan was not going to work so dad duty easily trumps campaigning.
    One of the great things about local politics is political ideology can be put aside as often times the candidates are friends and neighbors.
    This was the case when I ran against Shap, whom I’ve known for a long time. Part of the fun of running for office was the opportunity to meet new people and get to know better acquaintances.  Melissa is one of those people I got to know better, and it was a pleasure to talk with her since it was easy for us to leave politics off the table.
    I wish her well in her fight and I’m sure it won’t before all she has to worry about is dishing out the treatment not receiving it. And I’m equally as sure we haven’t seen the last of Shap, after all even if he isn’t our politician after this legislative season, he is still our friend and neighbor.