By David Hegg
Well, it’s time. We’ve seen the political yard signs springing up for months, read the papers, been deluged with the TV adds, listened to candidates, pundits, loyalists and liars, and too often come away wondering, “Is this the best our country, state, county and city can do?”
By now many of you have filled out your ballots while others of us are anxious to actually to vote in person. Whatever you opt for, 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.
Back in January, 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 only once before in my professional life endorsed a political candidate. The first time was back in February when I first wrote this column that I’ve updated here. Whether you vote by mail or in person, I urge you to vote for Mike Garcia.
In the few months Mike has been our representative, he has done just that … represent us. He’s represented us with his work rate, with his participation, with his intelligence, learning and transparency. He’s represented his work and thoughts to us regularly and rightly in numerous emails and letters detailing what he’s been doing on our behalf. I think we made the right choice back in May and believe Mike Garcia has earned the right to represent our 25th District.
Lord Shaftesbury is credited with saying, “What is morally wrong can never be politically right.” That simply means ethics matter. As you approach the ballot and start casting your vote, 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.