District voters are being shortchanged by Rockefeller, Rolfes | Letters | June 23
June 16, 2011 · 4:42 PM
News flash – Sen. Rockefeller resigns his Washington Senate seat; Rep. Rolfes declares immediately she will seek appointment to Rockefeller’s Senate seat.
Notwithstanding the higher political aspirations of both legislators, there is something seriously troubling with this political maneuver.
On the surface we have two opportunistic politicians moving their way up the political ladder. However, on closer examination we have broken trust.
Neither Rockefeller nor Rolfes are term complete. Both legislators have an elected day job for which they actively campaigned, took contributions and made promises to voters on terms of service. Rockefeller had 19 months to term completion: Rolfes’ announcement to seek appointment comes with only six months completed in her 24-month term.
Personal health issues or family illness are acceptable reasons to break your contract, not the grass-is-greener new assignment reasons here.
Both elected officials and the voters knew the terms of employment. The voters are being short changed.
The news reports and press releases tout the importance of Gov. Gregoire’s committee appointment for Rockefeller. The position may be important, but Rockefeller does not have a singular set of skills that make him the only Democrat in Washington State qualified for the position. Clearly, he has placed his personal interests ahead of those of his 78,000 voting constituents.
As to Rolfes, she can campaign for Rockefeller’s seat in the 2012 race after completing her full term. She has no legitimate reason that compels her to walk away from her current duties.
The 23rd Legislative District Democrats can field a different replacement for Rockefeller. Rolfes has no singular skill-set making her the only person for this interim fill.
Again, if Rolfes resigns, she is placing her personal political ambition ahead of the voting constituents she now serves. Ms. Rolfes may harbor an heir-apparent design on the Rockefeller position, but that should be held in abeyance until she has met her elected obligations.
Elected officials enter into a covenant with their constituents to serve the citizens of the State of Washington honorably, faithfully and to the best of their abilities.
Implicit in this covenant is a requirement to serve fully, both day-by-day and full term. Had either individual campaigned publicly announcing they would only serve until a new political opportunity presented itself, voters certainly would have factored that into their November vote. I can find no record of any such disclaimer on terms of employment from either Mr. Rockefeller or Ms. Rolfes.
What voters are witnessing is a craftily choreographed Democrat maneuver to game the electoral process that we have seen numerous times here in Kitsap County. Is this legal? Yes. But it also smacks of a cynical gaming of the process that should trouble voters about this bait-and-switch tactic protecting local Democrat hegemony at all cost.
Voters need to be alert as to how their vote, their wills, can be manipulated by this process. Voters will again be given choices in elections in November 2011 and 2012.
When that candidate tells you he/she will serve you faithfully, remember what their record really says. Your vote is sacred and our electoral covenants should not be broken for self-serving reasons.
James Olsen, announced 2012 candidate for State Representative, 23rd District