Represent the people, not the party
By Larry Crawford May 8, 2012 5:18PM
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:19AM
When Beth Ann May was considering becoming the replacement for former state Rep. Jack McGuire, I felt a measure of relief. It was as if I knew I would still have a representative going to bat for the home team … someone who could hit the ball, or at least take a good cut at it.
Her compassion and her integrity have always spoken volumes, and having her in Springfield would do our district and our state well.
Needless to say I was disappointed when she announced the results of her consideration for the seat and chose to serve out her term as township clerk.
On the other hand, it would be rather hypocritical of me to want May or at-large Joliet City Councilwoman Jan Quillman to have that state representative position and complain about any elected official not completing their term in office. Would the “party machine” have the same luxury of appointing their replacement, too?
There seems to be this strange assumption that only Democrats vote for Democrats and only Republicans vote for Republicans. Though it may generally hold true, it disregards those voters who may not take the “drink the Kool Aid” approach to selecting whom they would have represent them.
Given the present selection set-up, when an elected official is unable to complete a term, the party of which the official is affiliated gets to choose their replacement. There is apparently no consideration given to the fact or possibility the official may have gotten a substantial number of votes from people registered in the “other” parties. It seems no consideration is given to the idea that once a person is elected they represent everybody. Theoretically, once elected, he or she is not the party’s representative, but the peoples’.
Sadly, the present set-up is sorely lacking in what is democratic, equal, and open.
A very necessary faction is left unrepresented. It seems quite unfair to not be included in determining who will represent me, because of a sectarian and antiquated process.
If an elected official cannot fulfill their term, simply because it is the people’s position, the people should have the same right afforded them as was given when the position was voted on.
Possibly, the people agree with what has currently been decided in Districts 43 and 86. These appointees deserve to know they were duly elected. It is the confidence and backing needed to serve effectively, courageously, and ethically.
Larry Crawford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.