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Candidate Elmo talks politics — rights to snack, fake news, grass production tax, dog defense — and a bit about spring

Et tu, Elmo?

Elmer Thomas Elmo, dean of the prairie dog weather prognosticators in Elmer Thomas Park, greeted a knot of reporters on Thursday  a day before his arch-nemesis Punxsutawney Phil  who were lured to the wind-chilled park to find out if spring will be early or late this year.

As usual, it wasn't the blustery weather that was on Elmo's mind. Instead, he announced that he will be a candidate for governor this year and promised to tackle the state's budget problems first rattle out of the Ding-Dong box.

"Folks, I want you to know that I'm doing this purely as a civic duty," Elmo said as he plunged his paw into a king-size bag of Cheetos. "You all know I've never done anything that would benefit me personally; I just can't bear to see the state I love plunged into such chaos."

His first initiative would be to repeal the prohibition against feeding prairie dogs in the park, which he called a "cruel blow against a helpless community."

"It's just not right," he said, flipping orange dust from his whiskers. "Do you see anything to eat out here?" he asked, pointing to the brown grass blanketing the park.

One reporter  a newbie who thought Elmo would really be talking about the weather  pointed out Elmo seemed to have found sustenance.

"Fake news," Elmo muttered as his prairie dog posse escorted the reporter to the stockade at the Museum of the Great Plains.

"Sure, I have my sources, but I want you to know that I indulge myself only so I can keep up my strength to stand up for the rights of my constituents. I take no pleasure in it and would gladly surrender my snacks if someone else would step up to the plate."

Elmo then addressed his plan to Make the Park Great AgainÆ, which ran to a total of four pages.

"You can see that I've covered just about everything," he said as he pawed through the tome. "Let's see: Cut taxes and eliminate wasteful spending. There's lots of other stuff, but that's the main thing."

Specifics?

"Oh, all right," Elmo said as he put on his reading glasses to refer to the tome.

"We would totally eliminate the grass production tax," he said proudly. "It is unconscionable to tax grass, which is the foundation of our park."

He then went on for several minutes and pointed to a half-dozen graphs that he said proved eliminating the hated tax would be a boon. Everybody's been talking about the tax, he said, and he's just the one to get rid of it.

Could Elmo explain the grass production tax? Didn't he mean the gross production tax on oil and gas?

"No, no, no," Elmo insisted as he scooped a pawful of honey-roasted peanuts from his battered briefcase. "That doesn't make any sense at all. Unless you want to tax grossness, it's just meaningless. But I am open to taxing grossness, now that you mention it. I'll form a committee just as soon as we're finished."

What is wasteful spending?

"Well, that's pretty simple. It's anything I don't care for. You know, like issuing permits for rodent control, or education or libraries or highways. Highways are just death traps, you know. Cousin Elias barely made it across the street the other day without losing his fur."

Essentials, he said, will include funding Anti-Raptor Missile Prairie Interception Technology.

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