Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oct. 15: Wanted: Full-Time Elected Officials

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Besides the questions voters and journalists ask candidates for elected office about policy, they should now ask another one: Barring illness or catastrophe, do you promise to serve your entire term?

The latest elected official planning an early exit is U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, who is taking a job as the president of the Center For Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. He will leave his seat in January, a year before his term ends.

Naturally, this is setting off a scramble before a costly special election that will determine Wexler's replacement. Like ants at a picnic, the candidates are coming.

Add this to the premature exits of former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, not to mention numerous local elected officials who try to jump to bigger things.

It seems to be a new policy among elected officials: Vote for me and I'll serve at least part-time.

Voters deserve full time and attention to the job from those they elect. Those seeking to replace Wexler need to think about that before they officially throw their hats in the ring.

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