In this week's issue of The City Paper, I profile Metro Councilman Josh Stites, a young conservative who has made a name for himself as one of the only consistent opponents to Mayor Karl Dean's economic incentives deals.
While his conservative social stances — pro-life, pro-gun rights, etc. — often show up on his Twitter feed, those issues don't come up on the council. What does show up is a mix of property tax increases, corporate tax breaks, and public funding for large civic projects like The Amp — all of which he has opposed. On those issues, Stites seems to be following through on the reason he ran for office in the first place.
From The CP:
An admitted political junkie, Stites said he never planned to get into the game himself until the year of the 2011 county elections. Over the course of knocking on 4,000 doors throughout his airport-area District 13, he said he was inspired by “hard-working people that really aren’t asking for anything” other than, “Just don’t make it harder on me than it already is.” It was then, he said, that he began to see a need for a voice that said “No.”
He understands there is a sort of perverse incentive that can come with that.
“I think in any political environment, politicians are kind of rewarded for being abrasive,” he told The City Paper in a recent interview. “If I disagree with the administration, you guys will call me more. So there’s the voice of dissent, which is, people know that whatever this guy says I’m going to say no to. And then there’s the voice of reason — if they do good, say they’re doing good; if they’re going the wrong way, say that.”
Opposition to the mayor has gotten other council members branded as political opportunists, looking to boost their profile by fighting with Dean for sport. But unless he's just better at it than most, Stites doesn't fit the type.