Opinion

Former state Rep. Beeksma: 'Campaigning' definition not so clear

Some of the letters recently published make me wonder if our schools no longer teach political science and civics. From my experience I’ll offer a different perspective.

Much has been made of Mac McDowell asking his assistant to make the arrangements to participate in the Coupeville parade. If you noticed, virtually every parade includes participation by our elected officials, city, couty, state and even federal.

Since elections come around regularly, are we to assume their appearance is “campaigning” just because it is an election year? Then when Mac noted it could be so construed, he apologized and paid the county for the assistant’s time. Then that is seen as an admission of guilt. Does anyone know ho many times the staff of any elected official made arrangements to participate in a parade? As to Mac, our county is in excellent shape financially and every other way. Keep this man of integrity in office to continue to serve us.

This raises an issue apparently few people understand. There is no clear line of distinction between an elected official serving constituents and campaigning for re-election. Once can argue that everything an elected official does is to improve chances of re-election. Many legislators with whom I served were consumed with how to be re-elected. And when we vote, do we not consider how well we have been served by the incumbent? With that view, the current law would appear to preclude staff of incumbents from even serving constituents. There is no clear definition of what is campaigning and what is not, so cut them some slack.

The same issue is involved in Sen. Haugen finally opening an office in Oak Harbor. Her staff person, Gina, correctly asserts that she is here to serve constituents. However, do you think it is a coincidence that the senator first opens an office here when she is faced for the first time, at least in memory, with a strong opponent from Oak Harbor? It further underscores the mess in the ferry system and congestion on our highway, which she has blamed on our city, both during her term as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. Many of us believe it is time to elect Linda Haddon to the state senate.

One final word on politics. Many are calling for change. Remember, the Democrats control Congress, both houses of the state Legislature and the governor’s office. Want change? I do. Our state is facing a financial disaster with the spending commitments made in the last few years. The Democrats apparently want to force themselves to have to raise taxes, telling us there is no alternative. We can change all this at the polls in November.

We have a reputation as a great place to live, based on the quality of life, but it is not such a great place to live based on economics and taxes. And it certainly is not a good place to die due to the estate taxes approved by the Legislature and current governor. Think about it.

Barney Beeksma is a former state representative from Oak Harbor.

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