Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In their own words: Cecil Ash

We have asked each of the legislative candidates to submit their own editorial to be posted on Mesa Issues. Over the past few weeks, we have posted responses from each of the candidates. Here is the final in our series "In their own words" with Legislative District 18 House Candidate Cecil Ash:

The recent bailout (aka “the rescue”) by the federal government has prompted anew queries concerning the appropriate role of government. What seems evident is that we have greatly strayed from the original purposes of government, and more specifically from the Constitution which formed our government. Who is responsible for this deviation? While Republicans would blame Democrats and Democrats would blame Republicans, the fault most directly lies with us as a people. Those who have made the decisions to exceed constitutional authority have, after all, been the elected representatives we’ve placed in office by democratic vote. As with any time we point the finger at someone, there are three pointing back as us.

Speaking collectively, and not individually, we have voted for those who offered us the most. We have been pandered to, and not only permitted it, but encouraged it by electing those who told us what we wanted to hear: “No work, all ease. All honey and no bees.”

One of the aspects of running for office in this, my first attempt, has been the number of questionnaires one receives as a candidate. Nurses, realtors ®, conservationists, farmers, businessmen, teachers, gays, gun owners, contractors, accountants, apartment owners, social workers, and the list goes on and on. The questions are cleverly phrased to determine whether or not a candidate will vote, if elected, in such a way as to benefit the particular group seeking his opinion. While many of these groups have legitimate concerns, it nevertheless presents significant ethical dilemmas for an elected representative. John Kennedy in his book, Profiles in Courage, discussed this issue. When there is a difference, does an elected representative vote the way his constituency wants him to vote, or does he vote his conscience, and do what he thinks is right? I’m sure there are occasions when either answer is appropriate.

When it comes down to it, however, the only oath that a representative takes is to uphold the constitution. In Arizona, Article 2 of the State Constitution states in Section 2: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

If elected, I pledge to uphold the Constitution. I believe that government should be limited to those matters authorized or permitted by the Constitution. It is not up to the legislators to be nice to people, to manipulate society to accomplish the specific aims of a needy group, or to tax and spend for someone’s personal agenda. I don’t want the government to tell me what charities to support, or to promote a particular business, or to interfere with general commerce. If there is one thing that governments have in common, it is that they generally over-spend and over-regulate.

What I hope to accomplish at the legislature is to control spending, to limit government growth, and to encourage a robust business climate that will hopefully lead to an improved economy. How that is to be done is a challenge. But I’m willing to devote full time to the process. The solutions exist to improve our government. We need to persevere, open-mindedly, until we find them.

I would appreciate your support.

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