The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 9, 2012

Our View: Congrats, and a challenge

The Joplin Globe

— We congratulate those who won national, state and local elections. Yours are indeed thankless jobs.

So much, that we often wonder why anyone would choose to throw his hat into the political arena these days. So, let us pause to say thank you for good intentions and your desire to be a public servant.

Maybe, during your term, you can change the public’s perception of “politician.”

Now that you have been elected, we would challenge you to do the following:

Make transparency the mantra for your office. Your office should always be accessible to the public. You should welcome record requests and make it easy for those who walk through your front door to get access to documents. Enough with this making people fill out forms to get what already belongs to them. The open records law does not require a written request. It does require that documents be made available to the public in most cases.

Remember who your boss is. It’s not a political party, by the way. Your agenda is not the issue. Your job now is to represent the people of your city, county, state or nation.

Don’t try to scare the public by creating problems that aren’t there. Too often we read about proposed legislation that makes a political statement. Suddenly people believe their freedoms and rights may be in jeopardy, when in fact they aren’t. Be a watchdog, but don’t cry wolf.

Learn the fine art of compromise. It’s OK sometimes to draw a line in the sand. We want principled leaders. We do not want obstructionists.

Talk with your fellow elected officials even if you don’t agree with them.

Don’t allow yourself to be bought and paid for. As a state and a nation, we need reforms. You can start by returning checks to those who obviously believe their money will make you do their bidding.

If your goal is not about making America a better place than it was before you were elected, then do us all a favor and step aside now.

There’s nothing easy about holding a public office. Even those with the greatest of integrity and character are apt to make mistakes.

Honest mistakes will be forgiven. Dishonest politicians won’t.