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Ray Patterson was elected Springfield's sanitation commissioner 16 years in a row.
He had a good track record, until Homer ran against him, making promises that he could not deliver on. After Homer was fired for encouraging other cities to dump their garbage in the abandoned mine, Patterson got his job back, but he refused to help clean up the town.
Compared to many of Springfield's residents, Ray Patterson is considered to be one of the more 'sane' characters; hard working and committed to his job. When Homer ran against him for his position, he was frustrated by Homer and the town's ignorance towards him. He turned up late for a debate with Homer, claiming that his breaks had been tampered with. The town became shocked, only to start laughing again when Homer joked about his lateness.
- In many ways, Ray Patterson is similar to Frank Grimes, due to his commitment to his job, and hatred towards Homer.