Jolie Being Sworn in By Father Judge James Justus
Jolie notes “3 hours with a Branson Independent Reporter” as a memory of her first week in the Missouri Senate. Jolie was interviewed several times. Our first conversation occurred a day after she took her oath of office at the capitol. A second interview was conducted while she was on a train ride from Jefferson City to Kansas City and generously grandted an hour long interview over the weekend. I’ve spent many hours between interviews contemplating her story.
You can read the story in the Branson Independent tomorrow, next week in the Taney County Times and if you were listening to Branson Hometown Daily News you’ve already heard a piece on the local radio stations KZRK and KOMC.
The “sensational” piece was an easy write. The politics of Jolie’s sexual orientation provided material enough for the front page of the paper. Political factions were eager to share perspective, dialogue and even criticism of the status quo. Locally, many remember Jolie and her “husband”, who was the best friend she loved and married. He lobbied for her win and was touted by Jolie as her number one supporter helping her pave the way to Jefferson City where she holds Missouri’s Senate’s District 10 seat. Today, Jolie has a “domestic partner” and tomorrow …who knows. I don’t want to paint Jolie as wishy washy because such a statement couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is Jolie is a person true to her convictions and though 76 percent of us living in Branson believe these convictions to be false (liberal politics) Jolie no longer lives here. The gay lobby, Jolie points out, is sought after by political hopefulls at every level of Kansas City's government. Although I didn’t want to focus on this portion of Jolie’s personal life, a major component of her public persona, it seemed too great a compromise of journalistic integrity to leave this part out.
Sexual orientation isn’t something people in Branson tend to wear on their sleeves. There is a strong religious vain in Branson providing a pillar of our social construct, but, we’re not on a public witch hunt either. Public condemnation is not our sport of choice nor is blindly following the trends of our nation.
She brings hope to many people that struggle in the early parts of their lives; spent her high school years restricted for not reaching the highest marks in school and is testimony that “not reaching your potential” doesn’t mean won’t. Jolie eventually graduated in the top 10 percent of her Law School’s graduating class.
She’s hasn’t forgotten where she’s from and promises to remember us while she serves in Jefferson City. Jolie is Branson’s daughter and Kansas City couldn’t have picked a better place to choose a leader.
(I blame the honorable James Justus for the hours of research I spent on Jolie as he repeatedly uses the bench to discuss her achievements whenever the opportunity arises. Judge Justus proudly announced he was assigned to swear Jolie in as state senator; his first statement after being sworn in himself at the Taney County Courthouse.)