New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not running for president. That will please the pundits who called him fat and penned gags about the extra-large governor weighing in on the issues and demanding massive budget cuts.
The high-decibel mockery Christie suffered for a high-calorie life reminded me of a Fairbanks businessman who suffered similar abuse when he ran for mayor of the Golden Heart City.
Charles P. "Chuck" Rees was a familiar figure around Fairbanks from the early '60s until his death in January 2000. I first knew him when I was a high-school kid. He worked for the local bus company and supervised student transportation. Hefty Chuck was not Chuck to kids on the bus: He was Bubbles. Some adults called him Bubbles too, although he had the reputation as a man light on his feet, a good dancer.
Chuck's primary business was Northstar Terminals in south Fairbanks, which he managed during and after construction of the pipeline. Chuck enjoyed making money -- although it's unclear how much he actually made -- but he was more a visionary than a guy chasing a buck. He had big ideas for transforming Fairbanks into an international business center -- and was the first advocate of the proposed supercollider, which he thought should be located near Nenana. The Nenana supercollider remains only a dream to this day, but as my Fairbanks friend Paul Quist says, "Chuck's motto could have been dream big and dare to fail."
Chuck was elected to the school board in the early '70s and ran for city mayor in 1978. During the mayoral election, which Chuck lost, he was asked if he was too fat to be mayor. He reportedly replied "There's active fat, and there's passive fat. I'm active fat."
Chris Christie could not improve on Chuck's answer. Nor could he improve on Chuck's slogan "The big man for the big job." When you weigh 300 pounds, better to flaunt it -- you will never hide it.
-- Michael Carey