ELECTED OFFICIAL BEHAVIOR 4
An elected official should vote for the beliefs of the majority oftheir constituency. It is common for an elected official to have adiffering opinion or belief from that of his or her members of thecommunity. When faced by such a dilemma, the official may place hisor her interests at the precedence of those of constituents. However,since the elected officials work for the constituents, it is onlyreasonable that they make decisions based on what those they arerepresenting want.
According to Robinson (2016), “regardless of the elected official’spersonal feelings, he or she is responsible for representing theconcerns and views of the constituents that put them in office”.This implies that the role of any politician is to work for thepeople that voted for him or her. Constituents resort to voting foran official because they are convinced and anticipate that theindividual will represent their best interests. It is impossible forall members of a community to represent their problems in parliament.Hence, it becomes practical to elect one individual who relates totheir beliefs and is capable of dedicating their time to serve theconstituents. As such, the elected officials must not place theirindividual beliefs as superior to those of their constituency.
America is a federal republic, which means that government officialsare selected founded on a popular vote. This refers to representativedemocracy, whereby constituents choose individuals to stand for theirviews. Under such a democratic administration, it is clear that everycivilian should be equally represented. This means that the opinionof every member of a constituency is very important, prior to makingdecisions that affect the entire community. All officials aregoverned by this rule. When an official decides to vote, based onpersonal beliefs, he or she fails to practice democracy. It isunacceptable for politicians to impose policies on the people theyrepresent. Such a politician risks losing power, for instance, whenpublic opinion polls reveal that the views of constituents wereignored by the official.
In addition, the code of ethics governing elected officials statesthat all public officials must “act in the public interest,recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be theirprimary concern” (City of Belmont, 2014). Thus, officialsare expected to work towards the universal good of the individualsthey represent, and not individual interests. The main reason whypoliticians have power is because citizens bestow the power uponthem. When they choose their beliefs over those of constituents, theygo against the ethics that govern their work. They fail to representpublic interest, and instead work towards achieving personal gains.Such forms of unethical behaviors by elected officials result in lackof public trust in the work done by politicians.
A different code of ethics relates to conflict of interest. Electedofficials are expected to “assure their independence andimpartiality on behalf of the common good by refraining from creatingan appearance of impropriety in their actions and decisions” (Cityof Belmont, 2014). This means that officials should not use theirpower or political positions in influencing government decisions.Although constituents may be involved in raising their opinions, theelected official still reserves the right to vote for what he or shedeems right. However, the code of ethics makes it clear that whenconstituents and officials have differing interests, the electedofficials must act in the common good of civilians hence, vote forthe beliefs of the majority of their constituency.
City of Belmont. (2014). Code of ethics and conduct forelected and appointed officials. Retrieved from:http://www.belmont.gov/home/showdocument?id=11083
Robinson, W. T. (2016). Elected officials must represent theirconstituents. The Voice of a Proud Community. Retrieved from:http://pridepublishinggroup.com/pride/2016/07/29/elected-officials-must-represent-their-constituents/