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Nov 01

A Message from the County Executive: Do You See the Light?

Posted on November 1, 2023 at 2:25 PM by Bryanna Hartmann

I got an email recently from Ray Hartmann of Donnybrook saying that my nomination of conservative Buddy Hardin to the St. Charles City-County Library Board was going to be a topic on the show.

Fair enough.

And then he added, “Why’d you have to go over to the dark side?”

Oh, Ray. We love you! What would our blood pressure be like on Thursday nights without you?

You’re very smart and well spoken. But as Ronald Reagan used to say—there you go again.

Nominating Buddy Hardin is not “the dark side.” Frankly, it’s putting a new light bulb in a hallway that was getting a little dark.

The nine-member Library Board found itself woefully lacking in ideological diversity when it comes to important issues.

Take for instance, when former county-appointed board member Joann Leykam made a motion last year for the board to lower the personal property tax rate—so as not to get a $650,000 windfall from taxpayers due to rising bluebook values for used cars.

There’s nothing dark about that. The St. Charles County Council had already done the same thing.

But on the library board not one other member would even “second” the idea, not one peep—meaning that it died without discussion.

That’s the dark side.

Fast forward to recent events, with parents raising questions about the attire of some library workers, and the appropriateness of some books on the shelf within reach of children.

We’re not talking about Huckleberry Finn or Catcher in the Rye. We’re talking about some book called Bang Like a Porn Star.

These sorts of things need a board that will talk about them.

So along comes Buddy Hardin, the reluctant appointee. He’s not some flaming crusader who called me up itching to get on the board.  I had to ask him to serve.  

I like Buddy because he’s a successful businessman, a pro-family person, married 30 years plus to longtime St. Charles County Recorder of Deeds Barb Hall. Together they have seven kids.  

And he’s not afraid to speak his mind—with tact—and maybe be that other person on the board, another conservative who can “second” the next conservative item that comes along for discussion, so it doesn’t die on the table.

Back before the Culture Wars heated up, I didn’t think so much about a person’s politics before I appointed them to something. But lately I’ve been thinking about what British journalist John O’Sullivan said.

He said that “any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.”

So, that’s what I’d say to Ray Hartmann. Buddy Hardin’s not the dark side. He’s just a new lightbulb.