Elected officials must represent their constituents

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

All too often you have elected representatives who may be questionable in their service to the constituents that elected them to that office. This comes about when you have a large number of people that are up in arms at their representative’s lackluster refusal to address issues they feel are crucial to their communities. When you have an elected official in your district that constantly refuses to return your phone calls addressing your concerns about an issue, you have a problem.

Sometimes representatives don’t take individual concerns seriously, only opting to listen to groups or committees who have more community visibility. Even at times you find elected officials refusing to propose bills or act in the best interests of the community regardless of pressure by that community, coming up with excuses that many may find dubious. Regardless of the elected official’s personal feelings, he or she is responsible for representing the concerns and views of the constituents that put them in office. It is called representing the people who elected you.

Too many times we have candidates promising the constituents their loyalty and uncompromising dedication to serve and represent their voice only to be elected and do a complete turnabout. The public is often deceived if people running for office are backed by special interest groups, businesses, or financial backers with esoteric self-serving agendas. These backers are expecting the candidate to fulfill certain obligations if they win. Sometimes the desired objectives of backers are not in the best interests of the community who may elect the official. Many times the backers are not from the district the candidate is in and have promised that candidate hidden rewards if the candidate wins and carries out their plans.

The public shouldn’t be deceived that politics can bring about unholy and unsavory unions and therefore be cognizant of the backgrounds and motives of certain people, businesses, and groups—especially financiers financing the candidates. Many elected officials are not transparent in their dealings, especially when offering information to the public making it easier to be complicit in unethical dealings, compromising the trust of the people who elected them. Elected officials must be held accountable and held to the fire when it comes to representing their constituents. Personality and likability can sometimes be deceiving with attributes allowing elected officials to go unquestioned by constituents privately talking among themselves about their representative’s questionable job performance.

I truly believe that most representatives originally enter office with honorable intentions to serve their communities, but in time are seduced or corrupted by the relentless forces of unscrupulous politics occurring around them. Eventually, many politicians are wooed by the tempting promise of money, power, and self-serving amenities. This is only made plain when you see people who have use their elected position to attain substantial wealth or elected officials with wealth becoming obsessed with power. Truly working to better the community in the best interests of the constituents should be the elected official’s primary goal.

Voters in the community could do a better job personally screening candidates and in discerning a candidate’s true objectives and motives. Once a candidate is elected, transparency should be required, and accountability is a must in all the representative’s endeavors. The elected official should keep the community abreast of all issues pertaining to the community, listen to the constituents who elected them, and advocate for their concerns, proposing legislation if needed.

Adherence to following the wishes of constituents and prior job performance should be the best evaluation on whether a incumbent should be seriously considered for reelection. Sometimes we have elected officials who think the public is sleeping or blind to their questionable or dubious service to their constituents while in office.

A representative’s personality and likability can often be a deceptive flaw allowing a corrupted and self-serving person to stay in office.

The public must judge elected representatives in their role in representing the communities who elected them. When we, the constituents, demand unrelenting representation and truly hold our elected officials accountable, then we will be better served.