Democrat chairman believes he is 'right where I want to be'
by Jason Lowrey
Aug 12, 2013 | 1999 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. J.M. “Joe” Prince has been the chairman of Bartow County’s Democratic Party since 2004, but his involvement in politics goes back much further than that. He has said he voted in every general election since he was eligible to vote, while his personal studies have encompassed economics, history and science. In the past he has associated with the joint Nobel Prize winner Robert W. Fogel and scientists involved with the research for the atomic bomb.

In local politics, Prince believes the sole commissioner system has worked for Bartow County. At the same time, he feels having a greater amount of Democrats in the state Legislature would benefit the county.

Name: Dr. J.M. “Joe” Prince

Age: The same age as our dear President

Occupation: Small business owner, real estate consulting

Family: Wife, Becky Carr

Education: High school graduate, BSc. (with honors) University of Toronto, M.A. and PhD., University of Tennessee.

When did you first become interested in politics?

A: I’ve always been interested in and reading about politics, history and world affairs. I’ve subscribed to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since I was in high school. I became more involved locally when I moved from Tennessee to Cartersville in 1990.

When was the first time you voted? Was it during a presidential election or a local issue?

A: I’ve voted in every general election since coming to my age of majority. I’ve rarely missed an election, and have always considered it my civic duty to vote.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the local political scene?

A: Meeting new people and helping out where I can.

When did you become head of the Democratic Party in Bartow County, and what led you to take that position?

A: I became part of the party formally around 1998, then assuming a leadership position. I saw what was going on nationally, and knew that I had to get involved. The new political age is indeed crazier than many that have preceded it, and we need more honest doses of rationality and systemic economic and scientific analysis to try and right the ship of state. I’ve been chairman of the local party since 2004.

In terms of politics, what do you believe is going right in the county, and what do you believe needs work?

A: I firmly believe as Bill Clinton said: “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

We’ve got plenty of persistent problems in our nation, but overall, I’ve always been impressed with how well our local government manages to get along. It’s as the great football coach Vince Lombardi once put it: “blocking and tackling.” Take care of the basics, water, sewers, garbage disposal, electric supply, police and fire protection and functional courts and much of the rest is gravy. Sure, economic development is vital too, and some will have cause to disagree about certain particulars and decisions there. But for our county administration, we’ve been pretty fortunate overall, despite having an anachronistic single commissioner system. I firmly believe that locally we’d benefit by having more Democrats down in the state Legislature though.

If you had a dream job, what would it be?

A: I’ve got it now. Dreams always need to be tempered with a decent dose of reality. And given the circumstances, I’m right where I want to be presently.

What is your greatest achievement?

A: Being happily married for about 25 years. Meeting and/or working with the late Nobelist R.W. Fogel and some of his students for parts of my PhD. work in economic history. Being known locally for whatever generosity, kindness, sagacity, wisdom or humor people might recall about myself or my works. And for helping stop a dump from being sited in Emerson some years back with the easily understandable motto of ‘You ought not put your outhouse on top of your water supply/well.’ Dr. G. Fred Lee reminded me about the particulars of karst limestone geology on that score too.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A: Perhaps many things. I read quite widely, from almost everything worthy of attention. I do not possess a working TV set since they withdrew effective over the air broadcasting. I’m constitutionally against paying for such claptrap, idiocy, nonsense and degeneracy, which is now better than 95 percent of the output. I’ve never had cable or satellite TV for that reason.

Successful cultural transmission and learning was accomplished mainly with reading and listening for thousands of years, and TV unfortunately rarely encourages a decent modicum of either.

That said, some might peg me for a Luddite, but they’d be wrong. I’ve also known or met many of the famed scientists and engineers who 68 years ago were responsible for creating, building and fielding the first atomic bombs used in warfare to help end WWII. Almost to a man they were fine, brave and very smart patriotic fellows too. Many taught or were regular conference participants at MIT when I lived in Boston.

I’ve also got an unusual take on economics due to my training and study of economic history. Much of that is from a ‘bottom up’ perspective, and archaeological and anthropological training as well.

But for the record, if you want lower unemployment, higher wages, a higher GDP, lower deficits, more fiscal responsibility and a robust and rising stock market, you want to elect a Democratic president and more Democrats. This is what economic history tells us, and Forbes magazine also agrees with this assessment. (See the book: “Presimetrics: What the Facts Tell Us About How the Presidents Measure Up On the Issues We Care About” by Mike Kimel et al. or the website here: Also: the book “Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box” by Bob Deitrick and Lew Godlfarb and the Forbes article is here: “Want a Better Economy? History Says Vote Democrat!” Forbes online 10/10/12 )

Do you have a personal motto?

A: I’ve always liked and collected mottos of all types and in many languages. I’ve always enjoyed these:

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abe Lincoln

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” — Various attributions

“If you want to live like a Republican vote Democratic” — President Harry Truman

“Quit your meanness.” — Sam P. Jones, from his famous sermon on 2 Corinthians 7:2.

If you were to write your autobiography or memoirs, what would the title be?

A: I’d likely go with the one I used for my PhD. monograph “Sero sed serio” (Late but in earnest), as no one was likely to read it, and the few who’d might mistake it for something else would be doing so long after I’m gone. So I’m not much worried about it!