Our View: An open letter to Tuesday’s election winners
November 7, 2012
An open letter to the winning candidates from Tuesday's general election:
Congratulations on your hard-fought win last night. You and your opponent presented different visions of governance on a number of issues important to voters, and those voters ultimately entrusted you to lead them at the local, state or national level.
But please don't mistake your victory as a mandate to cater to the extremes of your political party. What we saw instead was an electorate almost evenly divided in the candidates it chose to fulfill its vision of the future. What they need are leaders prepared to get things done at every level of government, and that means a renewed spirit of bipartisanship and compromise. Americans of all stripes are fed up with the political status quo, and we can ill afford the same partisan gridlock that would halt meaningful progress during the course of your term.
Despite the closely contested elections, there are a number of things most Americans feel strongly about and on which you must focus during your next term. Citizens want reasonable taxes, and we want local, state and federal governments to spend our tax dollars efficiently. That means providing essential services and prudently maintaining infrastructure necessary to support the economy while aggressively pursuing debt reduction.
Elected officials must be honest and accountable to the people they represent. Government at all levels must be open and transparent. Never forget that the people who bend your ears often have special interests, while the vast majority of your constituents don't. Stop giving undue influence to those with the time or means to pressure your policy decisions.
If you're a newcomer to elected office, be prepared for a steep learning curve. Put in the requisite time and effort to understand the needs of the people you were elected to represent. Develop a deep understanding of the issues important to your constituency, and seek out opinions from those who think differently from the way you do. And always be clear about where you stand, even knowing that all of your decisions likely will upset at least some of your constituents.
Finally, remember that Routt County, Colorado and the United States are only as good as the people who lead them and set their direction forward. There are many critical issues facing our county, state and nation as 2013 draws near, and you were chosen to speak for all of us in addressing those hurdles. Accept that responsibility with the respect it demands, or be prepared to find a new job in four short years.