Kay Shamblin’s voice will be missed by all
Sep 15, 2013 | 788 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Whether one’s political preference leans to the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Tea Party, independent — or other — sides, it likely came with bittersweet emotions when longtime GOP advocate Kay Shamblin “retired” from her role as one of Bradley County’s leading political volunteers.

To Republicans, it surely was a bitter time because they will miss Kay’s endless energy and her unharnessed belief in conservative values.

To Democrats, it probably was a sweet time because they won’t miss Kay’s endless energy toward the GOP cause and they likely recognize it as a chance to get a leg up on their political rivals.

To independents, some perhaps could recognize this as opportunity by approaching the veteran political figure and seeking her advice on how to conduct future campaigns.

To Libertarian, Tea Party and a host of other politically partisan groups, some might choose to learn from Kay’s model; that is, understanding how to influence the electorate toward Republican leanings while also recognizing opponents have values as well that should be acknowledged, debated and understood.

We mention Kay Shamblin today because the subject came up in our own newspaper when we featured the Bradley Countian as a Personality Profile on the front page of our Aug. 26 edition. In the informational writeup by Managing Editor David Davis, who has covered the local political scene for years, Kay pointed out the November 2012 elections were her last as Bradley County coordinator for Republican candidates.

In essence, this dedicated volunteer is “retiring.”

Her final involvement came in the successful campaigns of Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. Both are Republican. Both were elected. Both easily carried Bradley County whose Republican roots grow deep.

She has also worked the local campaigns for a slew of other GOP hopefuls, just a few of whom include Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, state Rep. Kevin Brooks and state Rep. Eric Watson.

As avid a believer in Republican values as Kay is, she is quick to recognize opposing parties also have some “good people.” She told us herself during a brief drop-in visit the other day to our newspaper office when she pointed to the strength of the American political system and the many talented leaders — and candidates — who strengthen its very fabric.

Kay Shamblin is bona fide Republican, but she understands the importance of opinion ... even when it counters her own.

Kay Shamblin is a conservative at heart, but she recognizes the benefits of diversity in any community, especially our own Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.

Kay Shamblin is a fearless worker who has a heart for America and a love for Americans ... all Americans, not just a few and not just those who line up on her side of the political fence.

Kay Shamblin is a voice of conviction on many issues, but she is always open to hear the voice of others when they disagree.

Kay Shamblin is a devout Christian, one who makes apologies to no one for her faith and her unwavering beliefs.

Kay Shamblin is a Republican who bleeds red, but her tolerance of opposing views has always served as her strength and not a weakness.

“Dad was a politician,” she told us in the Personality Profile interview. “He always said when you’re looking for someone to vote for, it is not whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. You’ve got to look at the issues, look at the issues, and then look at the issues, to know what [politicians] stand for. You’re not looking for someone who is popular. You’ve got to know what somebody stands for and how it is going to affect you.”

Such sentiment is why Kay Shamblin will be missed in Bradley County’s political arena.

She favored the Republican way, but she understood the necessity — and the moral mandate — of dialogue and open discussion.

“It’s how we used to get things done,” she told us.

Whether Republican, Democratic, Tea Party, Libertarian or another, political figures — incumbents and hopefuls — would be wise to hear her words.

America is nearing her crossroads.

And it is a junction guarded not by a party, but by a people.