As you prepare to take your oath of office in the coming days and begin working on my behalf, I ask you to please consider these points:
You represent everyone in your jurisdiction. Rich and poor, young and old, employed and unemployed, PhDs and high school dropouts. This also includes those who voted for you and those who voted against you, those who contributed to your campaign coffers and those who never opened their wallets.
You do NOT represent your political party. You may agree with most of its platform, but you do not represent it. If you are ever in doubt, ask yourself this question — Who voted you into office, your constituents or your party’s officials? – then proceed accordingly.
We know you cannot please everyone every time, so don’t attempt to try, but be prepared to tell us why you voted the way you did.
Compromise on ideals, not morals. There is more than one way to balance a budget, but all lives – from those in the womb to those in hospice care – are sacred.
Be honest and up front with us. Do not assume we can read your mind. Do not assume you can read ours.
It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.”. We don’t have all the answers and don’t expect you to, but we do expect you to try to find as many of them as possible.
Listen to us when we talk to you and let us finish speaking. If you don’t interrupt us, we are more likely to return the favor when the mic is yours.
Speak to us, not at us.
Answer the questions asked of you and say nothing more. Rambling on will only make you hoarse and make us sleepy.
Don’t attempt to explain away a bad decision. Admit a mistake when you make it.
Consider a piece of legislation on its merit and content, not by its author.
Do not make promises you cannot keep or have no intention of keeping.
Work to build bridges, instead of barriers.
Lastly, remember these words from the late baseball great Roberto Clemente, “If you have the chance to do something good for others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time here on Earth.”