Local Candidates Get Face Time

The race for the White House is being fought through nasty tv ads, and a bitter sparring over our nations airways.

But on a local level, some candidates are still doing it the old fashion way.  The men running for Sheriff in Van Zandt County are hoping to win support through a handshake.  With the men of Callender Lake and Hickory Hills hard at work frying fish, Sheriff Pat Burnett and his Republican challenger, Don Dixon, are hard at work trying to win support.

For these two men a fish fry for 300 isn't just another event in a long campaign, it's an important chance to meet those who, come November, will put them in office.

"Football games, church gatherings, civic organizations.. anything I can go to I'm going to go to," said Burnett.

"I've had people tell me they've lived in a certain house for 30 years and they have never had an elected official or someone running for office coming to meet them and I would say I get an 80-90 percent positive reception from people because we took the time to come to their doors," said Dixon.

Both men are lifelong law enforcement officers.  Burnett, in his third year as Sheriff.  Dixon retired from the Corpus Christi Police Department in 1997.  For both candidates the personal attention is invaluable, even if it comes with it's own set of problems.

"I've been dog bit twice, I've also been chased by a billy goat... It's been quite an experience," said Dixon.

"I've already worn one pair of boots out and I've gotten a pair of shoes with a thick sole that's soft and I can do door to door much easier with them," said Burnett.

Over a plate of fish and more than a few handshakes, these candidates are hoping to make a few friends and win more than a few votes.

To learn more about the two sheriff candidates in Van Zandt County or any other East Texas race click on the link below.  You'll be director to KLTV's in depth voter guide "Your Vote 2004".

Chris Gibson, reporting