Serving the Public Good

I read a peculiar comment by a Delaware House member in the newspaper today about why he doesn’t want to vote to override the Governor’s veto:

“If you’re a Democrat, and the governor’s a Democrat, you have to think long and hard, ‘Do I want to override my governor?’ It has to be a really big issue for you to do that.”

The quote struck me because it shows so little understanding of the proper role of a representative in the American system of government. First, the allegiance of a representative ought to be to the public good not the interests of a particular political Party, loyalty to a powerful man, or one’s particular career interests.

Second, this country is founded on the separation of powers, so it is not the proper role of a Legislator to capitulate to whatever the Executive branch wants.

Third, the Governor is the Governor of all people, he’s not the boss, and parties are not ball teams.

Indeed, the oath that all our representatives take when elected clearly states that they are accountable to the people and trusted to serve the public good.


Members of the General Assembly and all public officers executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as shall be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:

“I, (name) , do proudly swear (or affirm) to carry out the responsibilities of the office of (name of office) to the best of my ability, freely acknowledging that the powers of this office flow from the people I am privileged to represent. I further swear (or affirm) always to place the public interests above any special or personal interests, and to respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware. In doing so I will always uphold and defend the Constitutions of my Country and my State, so help me God.”

No other oath, declaration or test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust.

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