After 28 years Merwyn Fisher won’t seek re-election Print

For nearly a half century County Councilman Merwyn Fisher has been serving constituents in the political arena on both the local and state levels. In 2012, that long run will come to an end. He said Friday in a phone interview that he doesn’t plan to seek re-election.
“After 28 years, I think that’s enough,” Fisher said. “Altogether it’s been 42 years and that’s long enough!”
Fisher said his years served fall just short of 42, because after being elected as a state representative he had to resign the last six weeks from his post as Township Trustee.
Just eight years away from making it 50 years, Fisher said it’s time for some new blood to get in county government.   
“I think it’s time that some younger ones take over,” he said. “I still enjoy it about as much as I ever did, but I have fully decided I am not running again.”
Fisher said he had the desire to run for office after watching his grandfather serve as Township Trustee.
“My grandpa was Township Trustee, back years and years ago,” he said. “That’s when trustees were in control of the schools and hiring teachers, but him doing it kind of enticed me to run for trustee. That was back in the 60s when we had surplus commodities and government programs handled at the local level. I jumped in and was fortunate enough to win. Then I ran another term for that, before moving on to the state level.”
In one election Fisher said he likely won, because of what was happening in Washington at the time. 
“It was during the Watergate time and there was a swing in politics that year,” he said. “I was able to hang on two more years there.”
After losing his seat, he took a couple off before running for running for the county council at-large seat in the early 1980s. He won and has held that seat since.
He said the climate in those days towards Republicans was similar to how people were feeling about Democrats during the 2010 mid-term elections. 
“I am just glad I wasn’t running two years ago, because I might have been forced to retire early,” he said.
Fisher pointed to a number of things that he feels proud to have been a part of on both the state and local levels.
Locally he said implementing computers in the county offices was a big deal as was the Salem By-Pass.
“We got the computer system in,” he said. “If we hadn’t done that we would have been behind the eight-ball.”
As for the by-pass, Fisher said he always supported, but not everybody did, especially in the beginning. 
“Originally that was called the truck rout, but that word is kind of gone by the wayside and people started calling it the bypass,” he said. “I always had visions of a chemical truck turning over and the load going into Brock Creek and all that. That was probably the biggest.
“That even goes back to the mid 1970s being a state rep. At the time the local merchants didn’t want it, but they have seen the need over time. We had a lot of people that were supportive of it in the later years.”
As a state rep, Fisher also had a number of things he is proud to have been a part of.
He said he defeated Ralph Anderson for his seat in the statehouse and then later worked with him to secure a large amount of money for Lawrence County.
“We got a million dollars for a center for the mentally handicapped in Lawrence county,” he said. “I went to the dedication and I felt really proud of that.”
Fisher was also instrumental in helping secure funds for the parking lot at Spring Mill and funding for the Williams Damn Renovation project and building the Salem Armory, in which he worked with then Senator Frank O’Bannon..
Outside of the accomplishments, Fisher feels good about his time in office. He said his number one priority was always representing the people.
“I always put the party-lines away once I was elected,” Fisher said. “That was the time to forget if you are Republican or Democrat and go to work for the people, because it’s them who put you in office. When I was in legislature there were times when I would walk out of the caucus because they was wanting something that I didn’t think would fit in with the people in the counties I represented and I would just friendly walk out or wouldn’t go along.
“I tried to use common sense on how the decisions we make would affect people.”
Fisher’s seat, along with two other at large seats will be on the ballot during the November general election.