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Trusting Citizens

Seal of Polk County, IowaSeal of Polk County, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been away from the political process - the campaigning part - for several years.  I stood for election many times - and always found the voters in my constituency to be interested, engaged and fair.  I have great respect for the voter. 

This fall, as a part of a bipartisan leadership team, I once again engaged in a campaign. The goal?  Pass a bond referendum called Public Safety for Polk County (Iowa).  Many people asked me why I agreed to take a leadership role in this campaign to help pass this referendum.  My answer?  It had to be done, the status quo was unacceptable. Our courthouse, built in 1904, is a thing of beauty.  Even with all the wear and tear many years of overuse can bring it is still a beautiful building.  It is woefully inadequate for today's needs.

While serving as a US Ambassador I was given one very clear charge - maintain stable democracies.  The seven small, emerging democracies that I worked with had great respect for the rule of law.  They understood it is the foundation that builds and maintains trust among citizens.

As a fiscally conservative person, I appreciate and support the need for fair taxes and for small, efficient government.  Functional infrastructure that supports our justice system is a service that government - size notwithstanding - is supposed to do, and do well.

Any and all citizens seeking justice and fair resolution of disputes should expect to have access to judicial processes that are timely, fair and efficient and carried out in a safe environment.  According to our Constitution, victims, perpetrators, witnesses, jurors, judges, attorneys - all have the right to a fair trial.  They should also expect that justice will be carried out in a safe place.

As our campaign moved along, the questions were many and varied,mostly regarding cost and efficiency. We answered fully and honestly.  Some believed we were using "scare tactics" to describe current conditions.  To those folks I suggest they visit the court house.  When they do, they will see that conditions are exactly as they were described.

Once again, voters have demonstrated their willingness to support an issue that is central to our freedom. 67% of them voted themselves a tax increase to provide the infrastructure required to assure equal justice for every citizen.

Thank you to the voters of Polk County Iowa.  

The impact of this vote and the improvements that will come as a result will be valued far into the future.  And once again my respect for and confidence in the ability and willingness of citizens in a free society to exercise good judgment in free and fair elections has been affirmed.  


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