Common sense leadership

To the Editor:

This Tuesday the voters of Brunswick, Kirby, Concord, Granby, Guildhall, Lunenburg, Maidstone, and Victory get to choose who will represent Essex-Caledonia in the State House of Representatives.

Anyone who read the candidate comparison printed in the Caledonian-Record probably noticed that my dad, Amos Bell, offered responses that were well thought out and presented solutions. This stands in stark contrast to his opponent's answers.

Their answers illustrate two very different attitudes towards the job of being state representative. Amos' view shows leadership and a willingness to take an active role in shaping legislation, while the other view is passive and reactive; it is one of followership and simply voting yes or no depending on what the party bosses demand.

Passive partisan politicians see great danger taking an active role. Working with representatives with whom they disagree opens them up to charges of party disloyalty. To them, this is the greatest political sin a representative could commit. So they are content to put out very little effort, make no waves, and if the vote doesn't go their way, they haven't lost or gained anything. They can blame the other side for a policy's failure, ignoring their own failure to be actively involved in shaping that policy. While they remain unharmed politically, their constituents lose out because their voice wasn't included in the legislative process -- which is the whole reason for having representation.

Hyper-partisans who support Amos' opponent believe in the passive model of representation. They tend to believe, like the communist revolutionary Lenin, that things have to get worse before they can get better. These folks would rather wait decades for a political shift that puts their party in power than work with the party they disagree with for fear of keeping them in power. They believe that no matter what, party comes first and solutions can wait. This kind of nonsense turns people off from the political process and harms our state. Don't believe the hype when they say that their candidate is going to change the culture in Montpelier.

These people don't want you to think about your choice when you step into the ballot box; they want you to react to what you've heard. Before you vote, consider that Amos has a nine-year history as a selectman of working with Republicans and Democrats to keep the property tax burden in check, helping Lunenburg made wise investments, and frugally managing taxpayer money. He has the NRA's endorsement. He is a small business owner. He knows that in order to be effective, you have to be active and take responsibility for leading.

This year my vote will be for the candidate who will bring common sense and experience as a leader to the state house. My vote will be for a candidate who is more concerned with solving problems than playing partisan games. My vote will be for the candidate who will work to lower the tax burden on everyday rate payers, attract jobs to the district, and make government more frugal. My vote will be for a public servant. Please join me on November 6 in voting for Amos Bell.

Joshua Bell

Lunenburg, Vt.

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