07/24/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
In her quest for a seat on the Board of City Commissioners of Ashland, Ky. (pop. 27,000), first-time candidate Polly Judd Rideout is finding politics can be expensive. "Do you know how much these babies cost?" she says, holding up a campaign sign. "Seven dollars apiece!" Fortunately, the celebrity endorsements come for free. Rideout, 72, is the mother of country diva Naomi Judd and grandmother of singer Wynonna and actress Ashley, and the clan is proudly backing her. "This Judd's for you," quipped Naomi, 54, during a recent visit for the Judds' annual food drive. Declares Ashley, 32: "My nana would be a fabulous city commissioner."
Come November, if Polly—who was divorced from Naomi's dad, Glen Judd, in 1976 and wed retired towboat captain Wilbert Rideout, 75, in 1980—is elected to the $500-a-month job, she'll be the woman Ashland residents call "if their sewer is backed up or a traffic light is out, or if there are dogs on the loose," she says. "Most problems can be solved without calling out the National Guard." Naomi, for one, is sure she's up to the challenge. "I remember riding around Ashland in our old blue station wagon," she says, "and she'd say, 'There's too much traffic here. We need a stoplight.' And when we got home, she'd be making dinner with one hand and dialing city hall with the other."