Monday, March 10, 2008

March 10, 2008—The Good Elected Official

Every two years I am asked to endorse the candidacy of people running for office. Most of the time it is a no brainer and easy. Some of the time it is a real stretch to endorse some for office because I might just know too much about them or too much about being an elected official.

A lot of the time the 80-20 rule applies. Eighty percent of the elected officials do absolutely nothing while the other twenty percent do all of the work. A lot of elected officials are there to collect their paycheck and benefits and to figure out how to get reelected. God bless term limits. I know that we lose some good elected officials every eight years but getting rid of the do nothing crowd is worth it in my way of thinking.

I think the real issue is leadership. Leadership means thinking out of the box. Leadership is pushing the envelope. Leadership is taking a thought or an idea that will help society and taking it from bill drafting to the desk of the Governor or President.

Leadership is not always just voting for good bills. Don’t get me wrong. Voting for good bills is a wonderful thing to do but we could train a monkey to push the aye button if that is all it takes.

I really like the old saying, “There is no success without risk.” That is so very true. You will never get anything done if you are not willing to stick your neck out. Yes, you might get your neck chopped off but you might also do something wonderful for society and mankind. You can’t be a good elected official if you are not willing to take chances.

I also enjoy watching the “wet finger in the air” method of being an elected official. Sit back and see which way the wind is blowing and then follow the wind. Very safe thing to do but it takes no courage to do that. It takes no backbone to just follow the crowd.

Right now I am being asked to endorse two candidates for Congress in Washington D.C. Both are nice people and very honest in my opinion but neither of them are worth the powder to blow them up. Neither has ever done anything other than follow the crowd and get reelected.

It is real easy to spot the congressmen or congresswomen who are working hard for us in Washington D.C. You can read their names in the paper everyday. You will see them on TV in the midst of some controversy. It really does not have anything to do with whether you agree or disagree with them. It has to do with a certain respect you can have for someone who works hard to further their political agenda. Most do not do that. Most spend their time in Washington doing absolutely nothing except collecting a paycheck and getting reelected.

I think we should look at candidates and their effectiveness before we decide to endorse them or vote for them. We should ask how many bills they were the prime sponsor of and how many of those bills ended up on the President’s or Governor’s desk. There is no dishonor in not having your bill signed. There is dishonor in never working hard to get a bill to that desk for signature.

I often hear the excuse that bills can’t get through the process because of the opposing party. Maybe if the opposing party does not like the bill it might just be a bad bill. A good legislator will work with the opposing party to move the bill forward either through amendments or through good persuasion.

We have seven people representing us in the House of Representatives. We have two Senators in the Senate. Our Representatives in Congress are Udall, Perlmutter, DeGette, Musgrave, Salazar, Lamborn and Tancredo. Our Senators are Allard and Salazar. Ask yourself that, without consideration of party, which representatives and which senators do you feel are working hard in Washington. Ask yourself what bills they have managed to pass as the prime sponsor that have reached the desk of the President. Ask yourself if they are working hard for your interests and are not just working hard to get reelected.

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