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Former Deputy Ag Commissioner Reflects On Life In Prison, Phipps Scandal

Posted January 14, 2005

— Mike Blanton, a key player in the campaign finance scandal involving former state agriculture commissioner Meg Scott Phipps, said he has paid his dues and now he wants to get on with life after prison.

When asked what were his first thoughts being released from prison, Blanton responded, "How wonderful it's going to be to sleep in my own bed with my wife. How wonderful it will be to take a private shower without any rubber soles on my feet [and] to take a barefooted shower again. How nice it's going to be not to be counted."

Blanton spent more than 10 months behind bars for his role in the campaign finance scandal. He said he was loyal to a fault.

"I probably regret not asking more questions and assuming that everything was as it was presented to me. I should have put my old newspaper reporters' hat on more often and ask more questions," Blanton said.

Blanton said he does not talk with any of the other major players in the scandal. He said his focus now is mending his life and family.

"People don't understand how many things I have to be thankful for until it's taken away from you," Blanton said. "I'll never look at anything the same now after this experience."

Blanton has returned to work for a local landscaping company. He said it feels good to be able to put on boots and jeans and go to work. He also plans to write a book about his experience, which will be written in three parts -- his political journey, life behind bars and his faith.

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