I think we all need to reflect hard upon the choice we will all make in choosing our next District Attorney General for the 4th Judicial District (Sevier, Grainger, Jefferson and Cocke counties).
For certain, we need a person that has experience concerning the law…an attorney that will be sensitive and fair, yet tough when toughness is needed.
We need a person that aspires to the highest values and that has the heart to be the very best possible public servant. This could even be someone that we may want to see as our future Governor, State Senator or Congressman someday.
My wife and I are writing this letter to tell your readers whom we will vote for and why. Yes, our candidate has been practicing criminal law for 5 years (2 years working under District Attorney Al Schmutzer) and certainly has the energy, experience and professional qualifications to be a very effective District Attorney (GP High School, University of South, Georgetown University, UT Law School, Jag Officer National Guard).
But those are only some of the good reasons why we will vote for Joe Baker.
We’d like all Sevier, Jefferson, Granger and Cocke county voters to know a little more about the kind of person we are voting for too. So, we’re going to depart from politics for a moment to tell you about the young man we know personally.
When Joe Baker was in High School at Gatlinburg Pittman High School, he not only played football for 4 years, but also was the team Captain in his senior year. Joe was certainly an excellent, skilled, tough and hard-hitting football player. But Joe was something else in our eyes, both on and off the football field.
We have a mentally retarded son named Aaron. Many in Gatlinburg know him as the big teddy bear that works bagging groceries and collecting carts at Food City. All his life he has had difficulty reading and speaking as clearly and eloquently as most of us can. Aaron has a deep love and passion for football at GP. In high school, he was in the Special Ed program, but would always sit on the sidelines, watch the players, and dream about being on the team someday. However, his mental and physical disabilities left him at a competitive disadvantage to say the least (those types of people were not usually allowed to join the team, let alone play). None-the-less, God blessed Aaron with enough boldness to gradually inch forward until he was right in the middle of the team at practices and in the team locker room.
Not very many macho high school guys would easily and truly be-friend a boy with special needs, and would mostly be inclined to poke fun. But Joe Baker was not the norm. He was smart, athletic, handsome and physically fit, but he was also blessed with a special human spirit toward those less fortunate than himself. Joe always treated our son like he was normal and just one of the regular boys. He encouraged Aaron to pursue his dream and passion of being more involved with football. Joe always made Aaron really feel an integral part of his favorite team.
In fact, our son faithfully showed up at all the practices and never missed a beat. Then, one day Joe encouraged Aaron to officially join the team, even if it meant he might stand proudly on the sidelines most of the time. We as parents wanted that for Aaron too, because we knew what it would mean to him.
Well, before graduating, Aaron did end up joining the team and played a wonderful stretch of football during a spring practice session that he will always remember. Unfortunately, a fellow team member stepped on Aaron’s foot and broke it before the regular season began, so his football dream was cut short.
But, the fact that he got to actually suit up, play with the team and fulfill his dream, even for that short time, put him on cloud nine. Even now, at age 26, Aaron still looks back at that time in his life and revels in those special high school memories, especially the achievement of being on the team.
When we mention Joe Baker’s name to Aaron, he knows deep in his heart what an awesome man Joe is and what he did for him.
So, now you know why we feel so strongly about Joe Baker, all his admirable professional accomplishments aside. This man is not only a good and experienced attorney that would certainly be very tough on crime, but he is also a wonderful young man with much integrity, character and a great love for his fellow man.
We will vote for Joe Baker without any hesitation. We know he will be an honest, hard working and fair District Attorney that will make everyone in our four county area feel proud and secure. He is not your “run of the mill” politician. We encourage you to please go to the polls on May 2nd and vote for this good man.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR