Many old enough to recall crusading evangelist Billy Graham in his prime and his nationally televised sermons before thousands in coliseums and auditoriums worldwide marveled at his animated, stunningly direct way of spreading the Gospel, back when saving souls was the primary business of evangelism. At his very best, he stressed a Christianity of optimism, patriotism and inclusiveness, including in the area of civil rights.

Evangelist Billy Graham, one of my few heroes, almost made it to 100! He died on Wednesday, just months shy of his centenary birthday. Unfortunately, I believe, the public will not remember him as he really was because of the prominence of his son Franklin, who recently spoke in Waco. Franklin is a leading spokesman for the new version of the so-called “Religious Right” that many of us view as less generous than the Graham we remember.

Since his very first election in the tea-party tidal wave of 2010, McLennan County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ben Perry has consistently impressed us as a bold leader and consensus builder. Rather than ducking problems or applying bumper-sticker slogans to complicated challenges facing the county and constituents, he routinely has rolled up his sleeves, sounded out his fellow commissioners and constituents for input and offered practical and thoughtful solutions. We strongly recommend Ben Perry be re-elected to a third term on the county commissioners court.