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Residents should keep pressure on elected officials

Posted 20 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

Our county had a larger than normal turnout at the polls last November, partly because the people were frustrated and angry at those who were leading us. The governing officials were not listening to the voters, and because of that we had some hotly contested races, with newcomers stepping up to take us in a new direction.

Now that they have been in office for four months, I think it’s time for a check up. As citizens, our responsibility does not stop at the voting booth. If you voted someone into office, you now need to make sure that that person is doing what he should. At your place of business, there is always someone in charge. Doesn’t that person occasionally check on the employees to make sure they are doing the job properly?

You, the voter, are the boss of those who were elected. You are in charge of the town supervisor, the legislators, the sheriff, the judges, the highway superintendents, etc. They all made promises that would persuade you to elect them. They should not be getting a free pass once they’re in office, perhaps doing whatever they please and ignoring the will of the people. But if you don’t insist that they do the job correctly, they can and might do what they want to benefit themselves. If they take power to lord it over you, it is your fault. The expression is, “letting the inmates run the asylum.”

Anyone in public office knows that they are fair game. You have a right to respectfully question what they do and why; you have an obligation to see that they don’t try to oppress you with their new power; you need to remind them that they must fulfill their promises.

You might really like the person, but does that mean you ignore it if they aren’t doing their job? Do you look away when they don’t keep their promises? Do you give them a pass, saying they must certainly be good at their position because they have been re-elected?

In other words, you are responsible for keeping your candidate accountable. If you just get them into office and then walk away, you deserve it when the result is tyranny and oppression. You have the power to stop it and you refuse to do so. There is not much we can do at the federal level, and little, it seems, at the state level. But at the local level, you as a voter have a great deal of power. You need to continually remind your candidate that they answer to you, and that if they do not do what they promised, then they will be replaced.

Judith Larkin
Ridgeway