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Didn't Know We Even Had a Mayor!

As you'll see in the political handbill above, I was quite a lot younger when I became involved in politics. We had lived in our small bedroom community, the Village of Clemmons for about ten years.

As implied by the term, bedroom community, I simply spent the night there, as I worked and served primarily in the larger downtown nearby. I really had no clue about our small town politics.

Yes, I had served on the county-wide planning board and we occasionally heard presentations from developers attempting projects within the Village, as the same board made recommendations across the entire county, though the numerous smaller municipalities were not our focus.

Fortunately, Clemmons would later establish their own planning board.

Meanwhile, shortly after we had built our backyard cabin, a neighbor who had just moved in next-door, asked if I would host a meeting with some concerned citizens from within the Village. It seems that he had recentky run for the local council, though not elected. I agreed simply as a goodwill gesture for my new neighbor.

That evening I sat respectfully and listened to concerns about situations that had occurred in the past. Their's were the typical differences of opinion that arise, though I knew none of the names mentioned nor given situations, other than what might have related to commercial or residential developments heard during my two terms on the planning board.

I suggested they form a political action committee (PAC) to which they agreed. Given that I had set up numerous non-profits, I agreed to help further. They then mentioned a small amount of funds already collected and wondered if I might also consider being their treasurer. I declined.

The next day I went downtown to the Board of Elections to begin the process of registering their new PAC, which they would entitle "Concerned Citizens of Clemmons."

Everything was quite simple in the process until I mentioned the money they had previously collected. As I recall, the lady in the office that day, whom I would later come to know very well, instructed that funds, regardless of the sum collected for political purposes more than ten days prior to registering a PAC must be forfeited to the state escheat fund.

Though I now better understand the why, I was completely taken aback by the notion that the state would confiscate funds collected for the good intent of bettering one's community. I naively and abruptly responded, "One would have to put me in jail to get these funds!" Disappointing of myself, now that I think back, but it just hit me wrong!

The kind lady stayed on task, simply asking that I sign a document declining her request of the funds.

The next afternoon I received a call from our state capital, the party asked if I was John R. Bost, and if I had in my possession some one hundred-nineteen dollars collected by the newly registered Concerned Citizens of Clemmons? Of course, I replied yes, though shocked by such rapid follow up. He also instructed me that those funds would need to be forfeited.

Once again I was amazed at such a policy! My reply, "Sir, I do not know you but I'll tell you what I told the local officer at the Board of Elections, you'd have to put me in jail to confiscate those funds." His swift reply, "Mr. Bost I am calling because I have the authority to arrest you!"

He then went on to explain the reason and inform me that regardless of the size of the fund, or the good intent of citizens, the law was the law. He even ask if I recalled a recent case with a legislator, whom he named, then serving prison time, though for a much larger amount of money withheld from financial records? Again, the law was the law and I by then knew the call was very serious.

I also understood that I was entering a sector that until that day had been one often considered laughable when political jokes were offered. That would change!

Once I had settled down from the jolt of my possible arrest, I began to reason with this gentleman as to how we might remedy the problem. He then instructed me to get a signed letter of affidavit from each person that had contributed stating their awareness of the intent to form a PAC, and our commitment to future compliance with financial policies. We would then be able to keep the funds after filing legitimate documentation.

When I shared this with the small group of members in the newly formed PAC, they responded, "Given that story, would you consider running for mayor on behalf of the PAC?" After prayerful consideration, a visit with our town manager and a call to the current mayor, both courteously encouraging my engagement, I could not come up with a good "No"!

It was by then the summer of 2007, and I would assume this invitation to be what God had meant in 1978, as I stood in the front yard of our house in Lexington, NC, a young believer asking the Lord to work in me such that I became a person who could impact cities.

I had earlier begun reading the scriptures and noticed the contrast in what I had come to know as church, with the far greater impact of those known within the Early Church. It seemed they were turning their cities "upside down"... even political figures had become concerned!

As stated before, God's reply to my inquiry that day was, "Wherever I send you, seek (the welfare of) that city. If not this city, the next! I will give you a city."

I would truly enjoy three terms as mayor, with aspirations for even higher office ( again reference County Commissioner handbill), until my family and quite frankly partisan politics, helped me regain my perspective.

Perhaps I can discuss the why of those years from a sense of calling in the next post.

Grateful to you as a reader.

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That was a close call I enjoy reading your cabin stories

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