I'm a professional skeptic, but I came away believing this guy was sincere.
While I'm in favor of strict limits on the influence of special interests, I agree with Higdon that if a politician "is corruptible, he's going to be corrupted."
The day our leadership class spent in Frankfort offered fresh lessons on the political process. Other sessions held equally insightful lessons.
Being a member of the Leadership Winchester Class of 2008 has been a fascinating and rewarding experience.
The program, sponsored by the Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce is a year-long study in leadership, but it is also a study of the community and how it works.
Our class learned some things before they were made public.
We may have been the first nongovernment group to review the results of the telephone survey for the Clark County Community Action Plan.
We learned, before they were disclosed, what the water and sewer rates might be as a result of new plant construction and a settlement with the EPA.
Before UK HealthCare boss Michael Karpf announced the affiliation with Clark Regional Medical Center, we were briefed on what the hospital wants to do in expanding and relocating its facilities.
We learned how local human service organizations work together to get more out of their resources and avoid duplicating efforts to help the needy. We also learned that most of the theft that occurs in Winchester is drug-related.
We toured Strode Station Elementary School, Rose Mary C. Brooks Place, the Clark County Detention Center, the Southern States feed plant, the construction site of the new Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus, and other facilities.
We talked with district judges, educators, business executives, teachers, firefighters and farmers.
One of the sessions I enjoyed most was on agriculture, because I have a strong interest in preserving farms and farmland, rural culture and small communities.
In April we visited a large beef cattle ranch near the Kentucky River and learned that cows can die quickly from a lack of magnesium in the grass they eat.
We also learned that, although Clark County has what may be the largest milk-processing plant in the eastern United States, it doesn't have a single dairy farm. But it does have farms that produce Malaysian giant river prawns and Boer goats, among other things.
In our orientation, we discussed problems from poverty to downtown parking, as well as community strengths.
And we learned that good leadership is as much about loving and serving as driving and managing.
For our community projects, we collected food for community services at Easter and started a recycling program at George Rogers Clark High School.
Along the way, we enjoyed a lot of laughter and camaraderie.
The only thing I regret about this experience is that it is ending so soon.
On Thursday, our class will graduate at the annual Chamber of Commerce awards dinner at the Winchester Opera House.
To John Austin, Michael Ball, Eric Baugher, Carolyn Burtner, Brad Case, Michelle Holloman, Marcinda Martin, Wanda McCord, Teresa Montgomery, Whitney Montgomery, Barry Omodundro, Allison Roberts, Haleigh Shelley, Scott Sidwell, Patrick Simpson, Shanan Strange, Angela Taulbee and Brian Walton, I want to say that I enjoyed being part of this experience with you.
And to Charmagne Castle and everyone else who was responsible for this great opportunity, I express my sincere appreciation and gratitude.
Randall Patrick is the managing editor of the Sun. You may read other columns and comment on them at www.winchestersun.com.