The Highest Ethical Standard Is Required – At Least By Me – To Serve As A US Representative
May 4, 2020
My entrance into the race to run for Congress wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. I considered it for many years before I jumped into the fray.
As a business person, when making any major strategic decision, one weighs the benefits against the costs; you identify whether you have the skills and resources to increase the odds of success; and you identify where your challenges are likely to be to determine if you can develop a path to overcome them.
In business, there’s a strategic planning technique labeled a SWOT analysis to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. I knew my strengths which included an extensive track record of accomplishing my goals, a natural inquisitiveness that facilitated learning and embracing new challenges, a broad support base of relationships in the manufacturing segment of the US economy including financial resources and association resources and even some politically connected resources, a family legacy of supporting this country from its inception and defending its values, and a reputation for honesty and transparency that is unusual in politics but has allowed me to operate effectively in cut throat, highly competitive situations. On the weaknesses side, I questioned if I was strong enough to survive the swamp, if I was educated enough on constitutional issues to understand and effectively use the tools of the trade, if I was flexible enough to learn a “new world” in order to develop the required relationships to succeed in my goals of impacting the legislative process, and if I was tough enough to absorb the inevitable disappointments and live on to effectively fight another day.
As I’ve discussed in my previous blogs,
I believe that the law is paramount and that our leaders must honor and obey it to effectively represent our citizens, particularly those who are entrusted to construct the laws we’re all expected to live by. Walk the talk, my Dad used to say.
Third world countries’ leaders are exempt from the rules and I’ve seen that increasingly happening in the USA and it enraged me enough to want to try and change it.
Ethics are not situational for me. WYSIWIG is a phrase from the mid-1970s that was associated with a computer technology program – What You See Is What You Get. As a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, I have tried to live a life of transparency according to the Bible.
In our home, a lie of omission was as egregious as a lie of commission; worse even because it indicated willful deceit. We didn’t tell “little white” lies. Truth is truth. Our word is our bond.
In my freshman college ethics class we were presented with multiple “shading the truth” and “immoral or unethical actions” situations that promised the gain of huge rewards (being released from a concentration camp or protecting your child) for seemingly minor compromises (5 minutes of inappropriate physical behavior), i.e. situational ethics. “It’s not THAT BAD in order to resolve a problem or avoid an uncomfortable confrontation.” We’ve all heard this in our careers, right? Someone climbing the ladder through stepping on their colleagues by taking credit for their work, or blocking them from getting critical project information, or any number of questionable actions. I’m pretty sure no one believes this doesn’t happen in Washington, DC.
Lawmaking is a challenging process that requires compromise. The world isn’t black and white and in order to craft legislation that accommodates EVERYONE’s needs and priorities, no one group gets to “win” any of the time.
In my consulting career they taught us a story of a couple who’s dream jobs were 3 hours apart from each other, so they lived in the middle and both commuted 90 minutes a day. It wasn’t what either preferred, but that’s the definition of a compromise – both needs get met with neither party getting their perfect desire.
Given the realization of how the law crafting process works, in my opinion it’s a critical requirement that candidates (and lawmakerts) are open and transparent with their constituents. It’s not the norm, but it’s the standard I’ve set for myself.
I will never represent a position as my own that I don’t fully believe in and am committed to fight with all of my energy to facilitate. I will never promise to deliver things that I know full well aren’t realistically possible. I very likely will end up supporting things I don’t love in return for support from others for legislation I need to get done.
If the emperor isn’t wearing clothes, I’m going to say it out loud. That’s my reputation in the business world, and that’s who I’ll be on the Hill. I drive my campaign strategist to distraction because it’s a level of accountability that for sure isn’t common in this new world I’m entering, but it’s who I am and who I intend to remain, so help me God.
We swear our oaths of office on the Bible, God’s Holy Word. God is real to me and keeps a record.
Plus, all secrets come out in the end, usually, most of the time.