Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lawmakers who Skipped Trip to Manhattan Insulted Constituents :: Letter to the Editor Essays

Lawmakers who Skipped Trip to Manhattan Insulted Constituents The visit to K-State by the Kansas Legislature last Thursday quite uplifting in a way, knowing that even though legislators face perhaps the toughest year of their careers, they still take time to get out of the chambers and listen to the people of Kansas. And then I read the article in Friday’s paper. Hopefully our elected officials have read the article I am referring to, and may they also take notice of this response. For readers who are unfamiliar with the story, although many of the leaders actually traveled to Manhattan to hear presentations about proposed research facilities, approximately 60 legislators chose not to attend. Some of them skipped simply out of protest, claiming the trip catered to lobbyists. To those few who made such a misguided choice, listen up. We’re going to review some basic concepts of government you may have forgotten. Your paycheck comes from the State of Kansas, which receives funds from Kansas taxpayers, who put you into office. Essentially, Kansans who pay taxes, myself included, are collectively your bosses. I’d love to be able to stand in front of the person who hired me and declare that I will not do my job today. Unfortunately, there is a high probability that I would not have a job the following morning. To those legislators who chose simply out of spite not to join your fellow leaders in the trip to K-State, you sent the wrong message to your approximately 22,000 constituents, telling them that you refuse to live up to the obligations placed upon you when you took office. It should be noted that some legislators had legitimate reasons for skipping the trip. But for those who did not have prior commitments or pressing matters, the blunt refusal of a request to be heard by the people of Kansas is utterly unacceptable. Public leaders should not be allowed to â€Å"protest† Kansans, even if they do consider it a â€Å"snow day.† Was the presentation in Manhattan a lobbying pitch? Perhaps, but what does it matter? Lobbyists or not, they’re still Kansas taxpayers who contribute toward your salaries, and you have an obligation to listen to them. The mindset, â€Å"we make them take off work and come see us,† is not how government should work. To our legislators who like to hide behind their desks rather than face their bosses, allow me to make a suggestion: The next time you receive an offer to visit with the public about public issues, take it.

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