At a press conference at the Aiken County Council Building Monday, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson stood at a lectern and discussed the issues of the past and new years – job creation, spending, promoting military veterans and much more.
But here’s a side note, raised afterward by Wilson’s wife Roxanne – that lectern and its rather unusual history.
From 1972-75, Wilson served in the U.S. Army Reserves. Sometime after that, he joined the S.C. Army National Guard and would not retire until 2003 – by then a colonel.
The lectern? More than 20 years ago, Wilson was serving with the Guard one day when he found the old lectern in a dumpster. As she has done many times before, his wife once again shook her head with amused exasperation.
“It was broken, and Joe found a part for it,” Roxanne said. “He campaigns with it, throwing it back in the car. It’s fairly light, and he loves it.”
The lectern has seen better days, which date long before the Congressman encountered it the first time. The varnish is scraped away in parts on top, and the lectern itself is wobbly. Roxanne Wilson told friends and other spectators that the County Council chambers had its own professional lectern just a few feet away.
“I just wanted people to know why Joe pushed away the nice podium and put this piece of junk up there,” Roxanne said. “He would say, ‘Look, they threw this in the dumpster and I got it back.’ He is so proud of it. A true fiscal conservative.”