Because I believe in this grand and honorable tradition, I find the abrupt and self-serving resignations of Georgia State Representative Tom Graves and Georgia Senator Lee Hawkins to be a slap in the face of every Georgian who entrusted them with their votes in the last election, believing they would indeed serve their constituents well until the official end of their elected terms.
Both Representative Graves and Senator Hawkins decided to walk out of the Georgia State Assembly in the middle of this year’s session at a critical and crucial time to seek higher political jobs in Washington, turning their backs on the very voters that trusted them to fully and completely represent their respective districts in the Georgia State Legislature.
Why was this a critical and wrong-headed path for these gentlemen to take? Because the State Assembly was considering significant and vital legislation to cope with massive challenges:
- Our state is in the worst financial condition in many decades.
- Georgia is close to having the worst education results among the fifty states.
- Unemployment in Georgia is among the highest in the United States.
- The new ethics reform bill is of no appreciable significance.
- Both national and state leaders are fervently looking for ways to increase taxes.
Trust is not something that is given lightly; it is earned through respect given and received.. When politicians like Graves and Hawkins totally abandon the offices they have sworn to fill “to the best of their ability,” then the voters should think long and carefully before rewarding them with prestigious and crucial political jobs in Washington.
I think we have had enough of politicians who promise us one thing and then choose to follow their own self-interest, totally disregarding the voters they pledged to represent .
Having no one in these two district offices to represent their voters is not just disappointing—it is totally unacceptable. These men gave their word and promise to citizens of Georgia, then deliberately chose to forsake their constituencies. They have broken trust. We should certainly not reward them with further responsibilities in Washington. Neither Graves nor Hawkins deserves a “pass” on this issue. The voters of Georgia should not allow them to ascend to a national position of leadership when they have failed to represent their own State constituencies sufficiently and effectively. Their “word” was not their bond.
The voters of Georgia have an opportunity in a Special Election on May 11 to tell these two gentlemen they expect their elected legislators to fulfill their State obligations to the fullest. They should not be allowed to abandon their sworn responsibility to the citizens of Georgia to pursue political prestige on a larger stage.