9-30-16 – Constituents Deserve Straight Answers from Candidates

by Rob Roper

An EAI member shared with me a recent email exchange with his Senator, Claire Ayer (D-Addison), in which he asked her where she stood on two issues: the Carbon Tax, and expanded background checks for gun purchases. Here’s how Ayer responded.

I have not seen either of the proposals you mention.  Without taking testimony on all sides of an issue, I cannot commit to action one way or another.  To do so, would circumvent the legislative process.” 

This is totally unacceptable. Not to pick only on Ayer, she’s just the example in hand, this is unacceptable from any candidate for office.

This kind of response is reprehensible. First of all, it is dishonest. For a long-sitting Senator to imply that she is unaware of either of these issues is unbelievable. The House has been taking testimony on the Carbon Tax for two years. There have been many, many articles written about it. Both sides have lobbyists who have been hounding legislators with every detail of their arguments. The same can be said of gun control issues. If she doesn’t have an opinion, or at least an impression, at this point, there’s something very wrong.

Second, it displays an utter contempt for the constituent. Constituents are choosing someone who will represent them – vote the way they would vote — in the State House. In order to make a good choice, you have to know where a candidate stands on the issues that are important to you. If a candidate refuses to answer a question about where he or she stands it tells you one thing for sure: that person is not looking out for your interests.

Anyone asking for your vote has an obligation to be forthcoming about where they stand. They may not have a fully formed opinion at the time, and may not be in a position to tell you how they would definitely vote in the future, but they can certainly tell you what they know and think at this point in time. If a candidate doesn’t think you deserve a straight answer, that candidate doesn’t deserve your vote.

I hope sharing this will encourage constituents to ask — and be persistent in asking – candidates where they stand. Don’t take no for an answer. And, let us at EAI know what responses you get. We’ll help you keep their feet to the fire.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. [email protected].

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim Bulmer October 1, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Rob, Ayres response is laughable. The only “testamony” these clowns take seriously is that which supports their agenda. If the most learned, qualified, experienced testifier opposed a proposed piece of legislation, the testimony will be ignored. At the same time, a hack can come in and praise the project. Guess what? The hack’s word carries the day. I saw it on the pre-K debate a few years ago.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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