Tuesday, April 03, 2012
iReport pundit of the week: Mary Helen Yarborough

Supporters like Mary Helen Yarborough are a big reason why former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary back in January, and quite possibly why he continues to stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination to this day.

However Yarborough – CNN iReport’s Pundit of the Week – is hardly a hardcore conservative Republican. The former journalist caught the attention of the iReport community with commentaries like “Women are fed up,” (see below) and “Reality check, candidates: It’s tough out there.”

The Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, resident recently told CNN iReport all about herself and her political background. She recently made calls for Gingrich during various primaries, and was considering doing so for today's vote in Maryland.

Affiliations: “I have voted Democrat and Republican. (My father was a county Democrat chair, and so he and my father’s side always was Democrat while my mother’s side always was Republican … except my cousin on my father’s side worked for George Bush, much to Uncle Hall’s disappointment.)”

When did you get interested in politics?

“Probably junior high. I used to sit up until wee hours watching the returns come in. Mama and Daddy went to Chicago in 1968 (Daddy was a delegate). So, I was 10 at the time. I used to go around with my father and uncle to stump meetings. (I am the fourth of five children, but the only one who went around with my father to various events. We used to have some interesting people for breakfast, like John Carl West … and Daddy used to talk to Fritz Hollings a good bit.)”

Why do you share your opinion on iReport?

“I know that I am an independent thinker and am inclined to voice opinions that most are afraid to express; so as long as y’all don’t mind, I like the chance to freely (and respectfully) voice my opinion."

Who is your political or journalistic hero?

“Of course, the [Bob] Woodward and [Carl] Bernstein team. Woodward actually worked for the same little paper in Montgomery County, Maryland, as I once did.”

What is going to be the defining issue of the 2012 election?

“Energy prices, cyber-security/stability and volatility in the Middle East. It stands to draw a lot of attention to how Obama is protecting this country and our interests, and I suspect he may act in a manner that is quite revealing.”

What’s something people might be interested in learning about you?

“I played first chair trumpet in what was a remarkable high school concert band (ahead of a dozen boys who were probably better than I was). I authored a book, ‘Disaster Planning Guide for Medical Facilities’ after I saw that hospitals are the least prepared for disasters.”  "I was a print journalist, having worked for small community papers (nondailies and dailies); was a stringer for Reuters years ago, and for the Post & Courier, etc. Then, I went to work for the specialty press (those expensive newsletters, including those for Platts, BPI and Thompson Publishing) in the Washington, DC, area and became a member of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery (I covered literally every issue except maybe finance, per se)."

Follow Yarborough here, to check out her commentary. And it’s not too late to join in the debate about the issues of the day, including the campaign. Click here to chime in.

4 Comments
April 3, 2012
Click to view 1860Again's profile

Congratulations!  You do outstanding work as an iReporter for CNN and are obviously very knowledgeable about politics.

April 3, 2012
Click to view k3vsDad's profile

Congratulations on an honor well deserved!

April 3, 2012
Click to view nl20051405's profile

Women and their Election seems a different issue from the leadership ability of the female leaders among political affairs.  Without human beings, the earth is continuing moving as usual.  Without a woman, a traditional family is not set up to its strict standard. This is not concerned with religious belief or professional morality.

April 6, 2012
Click to view omekongo's profile

Congratulations!

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