By David Hegg
By this time next week the vote centers in our valley will be open for business. From Feb. 22 to March 3 you and I will be encouraged to mark our ballots in favor of those who believe will do the best job representing us. Voting is an essential activity of a free society, and I strongly urge you to do so.
If we look at “representation” through the ethical lens we encounter what is termed “fiduciary responsibility.” This means a representative is entrusted with the power to act in a way that faithfully represents the desires of those being represented who have themselves expressed a level of confidence in the representative to do just that.
Such confidence does not come except through real knowledge of the prospective representative’s character, integrity, wisdom and experience. And since past performance is the best predictor of future success, those entrusted with the power to represent must have demonstrated their character, integrity and wisdom sufficiently to inspire great confidence.
So, where am I going? Here’s where. Two years ago we, the citizens of the 25th District sent a representative to Congress thinking she had integrity, character, wisdom and sufficient experience in demonstrating those qualities to be trusted to represent our values and interests well.
We were wrong.
Now we have another chance to send someone to Washington, D.C., who will act in a manner worthy of our valley, uphold the values and interests of its citizens, and do so with both great character and intelligence.
Several months ago, before we lost our representation in Congress, I reached out and made a lunch appointment with Mike Garcia. I didn’t know him, but some friends I greatly respected suggested we meet. For almost two hours we sat in Thelma’s restaurant, just the two of us. I listened to his story, heard about his wife and children, his career in the Navy, and his heart for our valley and our nation.
Then I started asking questions. I take my politics seriously so I didn’t hold back. I asked him the hard questions about ethical issues, about political positions, and about his worldview.
Here’s what I found.
His honesty and humility were outstanding. He didn’t “campaign” me, and didn’t give soft, generalized answers. He admitted what he didn’t know, and clearly expressed what he did. But even more I realized I was listening to a man who was driven, not by the desire for fame or power, but by a passion to engage in the mission to keep our valley, indeed our nation, on the right track. I walked away from our lunch having met a man I believe can represent me, and all of us, with integrity, character, wisdom and a top-of-the-class intellect.
I have never before in my professional life endorsed a political candidate. That ends here. Whether you vote by mail or in person, I urge you to vote for Mike Garcia, and as you will see on your ballot, you’ll need to vote for him twice.
That’s right. Twice. There will be two separate ballot sections for the 25th District, so don’t get confused. Just do this. Every time you see Mike Garcia’s name, mark the ballot for him, and you’ll be doing our entire district a great service.
Lord Shaftesbury is credited with saying, “What is morally wrong can never be politically right.” That simply means ethics matter. As you approach your time in the voting booth, be informed, recognize you’re entrusting someone with your future, and support those who have demonstrated they are worthy of your trust.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.