- Paris Flash
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Dr. Robert Zimmerman, 48, who practices pulmonary and critical care medicine in Paris, has filed his candidacy for the District 4 seat on the Paris City Council.
He seeks to replace Steve Brown, who is completing his second 2-year term and is prohibited by City Charter from running for re-election in 2011.
District 4 generally represents residents living between NE 20th Street and Collegiate Avenue inside the loop, most of the Oak Creek subdivision, and most of those living north of the loop between between Farm Road 79 and Farm Road 195.
In a question-and-answer interview, Zimmerman talked about his candidacy:
Question: What prompted you to run for the City Council?
Answer: I felt kind of disgruntled with politics in general, and that stems from national all the way down to local. I got very active in political campaigning in the last general election, and frankly, I heard a lot of people talking about, “You can’t expect things to get better if good men do nothing.” I hear that ringing in my head and know I have to get in, and this seems to be the place where I’m being directed to go.
Q: You were involved recently in what way?
A: Helping with the campaigning in the General Election, and pretty active with the Republican Party. I’ve spoken at the Tea Party rallies.
Q: Any particular objectives you have in mind should you be elected?
A: No, I don’t have a particular ax to grind. I want to look at what the City Council is doing through the lens of fairness of all Paris citizens. Basically I’m a rookie. I’m a novice to politics, but I am just interested in looking at everything with a fair eye for all citizens. That’s my primary reason to run. And also at the time, the seat that I was looking for was vacant and no one else had filed.
Q: What do your friends say about your decision to run?
A: Well, I’ve had a mixed reaction. Most of them ask me if I’m crazy. (laughs.) But most people realize that on an individual level, if we don’t get involved, our country doesn’t get better.
Q: Several things are on the burner now for the City Council. One of them is privatization of trash. Do you have any feelings one way or the other on that?
A: No, and I have not reviewed that at this point. Primarily, my goal is to look at it as a concerned citizen who is going to be getting my trash, review it, and make a decision based upon the facts presented – and again, keeping in mind the fairness for all Paris citizens.
Q: How do you feel about the city’s appearance?
A: I think there are good things and bad things. I do believe we could have a prettier city, but I think we need to do that in a way that maintains everybody’s rights and responsibilities for their own personal properties.
Q: How active should the city be in restricting how a resident keeps his own property.
A: To some degree, I think that’s going to have to be answered on a case by case basis. In general, I do believe people have the ownership of their property and they have the right to maintain it however they like. But that has to be balanced with the responsibility of maintaining a certain appearance. Everybody needs to realize that how they maintain their place affects property values of those people around them.
Q: Have you attended many meetings of the City Council?
A: I’m not clued into the politics of the city of Paris. I’ve gone to the last couple of meetings. Interestingly enough, I had a child recognized by proclamation both times. My son was recognized along with other Boy Scouts in this meeting, and my daughter was recognized the meeting before that for being a member of the Paris High School drum line that won the awards in Indianapolis.
Q: Talk about your family.
A: My wife, Robyn, and I have three children. Thomas, our youngest, is 12 and a Boy Scout. Elizabeth is almost 14, and she’s active in band. She is in the eighth grade and accepted an invitation to join the high school drum line and joined them in their championship run up to Indianapolis. She plays the keyboard in the pit. She stood behind the marimbas and in front of the marching band. Our oldest son, Garrett, is 20. He graduated from Centenary College in Shreveport, and he’s been accepted in medical school at Texas A&M.
Q: You were among several adults who accompanied the Scouts for their recognition by the City Council. How long have you been involved in that?
A: I’ve been seriously involved about four years. I was my son’s Webelos (“We’ll Be Loyal Scouts”) den leader for a year, and then I joined another den and kind of combined our Webelos dens and finished out their Webelos training. Then I became assistant Scout master and troop chaplain here at Troop 3990, and now I’m on the Troop 3990 council as well, so I’ve been getting more and more involved.
Q: Why did you choose Scouting as your way to get involved with your son?
A: I like the Scouting program because it’s the only program I’ve found that actually promotes patriotism in our children. Patriotism is important. I think the reverence part of their Scout law is also important. I think we have to realize that we’re just a small part of a very big plan, and God has that plan.
Q: What kind of campaign will you be running?
A: I’ll be passing out some buttons, and probably put a sign on my car, and go knock on a bunch of doors. I learned from my dad, who has been justice of the peace in Midland County for the past 10 years. He knocked on every door in his precinct to become elected, and that worked very well. So I’ll be knocking on a lot of doors and introducing myself.
Q: Is your wife behind you on this?
A: Yep. We talked about it before I signed on, and she’s actually helping with the campaign. She’s extremely bright.
Q: How about your kids?
A: I’m sure they will be involved somehow. They’ll probably be walking with me.
Q: This is your first dabble into politics. How about high school or college? Were you in student council or anything of that nature?
A: No, I had my nose in books. I did some athletics; my primary sport was tennis. The only outside group I was in was FFA. I worked when I was in high school, so mostly I just went to school and worked.
Q: You grew up in Midland?
A: Yes. My dad was a geologist. I left Midland after high school to go to Texas A&M, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science and biological science. From there I went to the University of Texas Medical School in Houston from 1987 to 1991, and then over to Scott & White for residency in internal medicine from 1991 to 1994. Then, a fellowship in pulmonary disease from 1994 to 1996, and I went to St. Louis for critical care fellowship from 1996 to 1997.
Q: And how long have you been in Paris?
A: I’ve been here 12 years. I’m a practicing physician at both hospitals doing pulmonary and critical care medicine. I also do a hormone practice using bio-identical hormones, and that has become quite popular recently. My wife manages my practice and is involved in it in a very big way.
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