Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2001

Senator should vote on behalf of her constituents

Editorial

February 8, 2001

State Sen. Kay O'Connor and State Rep. John Ballou met with DeSoto school officials Saturday to hear their concerns over the state's funding of public schools.

DeSoto Superintendent Marilyn Layman, Deputy Superintendent Sharon Zoellner, several DeSoto teachers and a handful of residents told O'Connor and Ballou they would support a tax increase to provide more money for education.

O'Connor was quick to say she would not support a tax increase, be it sales tax or property tax.

Fair enough. The Senator was direct and made no promises she would later break. That is to be applauded. It's what she said next that we found disturbing.

Zoellner asked O'Connor if she would support a tax increase if she received letters from more than half of her constituents urging her to do so.

"I've been asked that many times and I proudly say, 'Do I vote according to how my constituents want me to? Absolutely not.'" O'Conner said. "I may have information my constituents don't. If they don't like what I'm doing, I'll be booted out of office."

O'Connor said she has been misquoted and misunderstood by the media before. We didn't misquote the Senator, but we hope we misunderstood her.

Her "I'll give you what I think you need, not what you want" attitude has no place in politics. O'Connor was elected to represent the people in her district, not to force feed them her ideals.

We don't know what her constituents would say to a proposed tax hike to fund education. Apparently, neither does she, nor does she care.

What the Senator fails to realize is that her constituents may have information she doesn't. Her attitude reflects political and intellectual arrogance.

If O'Connor has information the voters don't, it is her responsibility to pass it along to them.

The Senator needs to keep in mind, she was not elected to express only her opinions. She was elected to represent, by her estimation, between 45,000 and 60,000 Kansas residents.

O'Connor may not be listening to what area voters have to say, but we certainly hope area voters are listening to her.

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