This week at a frelinghuysenfolly meeting an elected official said, repeatedly, “I only represent one voice.” Then he said “I am only one opinion.” He used these expressions, again and again, as if to qualify his voice as his own in a generously self-aware capacity.

But here is the deal, hoping this elected official is reading this blog: Your voice, as an elected official, is in fact charged with the responsibility of representing the electorate.

If an elected official is in fact “representing the people” than their voice never just represents themselves. If an elected official is in fact “a mouthpiece for all the residents who speak” than your voice represents my voice. If you do not agree with me, your job, as an elected official, is to still represent my voice, and be respectful of my voice. If elected officials are in fact representing the people, than those people who come and share their opinion in a public government forum should be given credence and validity and be ‘absorbed’ into your voice; this is your responsibility as a representative.

Amelia believes that in a utopia her 5 elected officials (whether they received her vote or not) are by definition charged with the responsibility to represent.  In Amelia’s utopia, an elected official rarely says “this is my opinion.” In Amelia’s utopia elected official says, “I have spoken with 65 people regarding this issue and the opinion of our community is ______.” Or, I have asked 6 people to attend tonight’s meeting and share their views so that we can assess how to proceed with the people’s input. Are our officials elected to further their own careers and their own personal agendas or are they representing their large community? Representatives are supposed to advocate on our behalf. If they fail to represent and advocate for us, the people need to hold them accountable. Right now we have 3 elected officials not representatives, and 2 representatives. I want to encourage frelinghuysenfolly committee to self evaluate: Are you a politician, or a representative?

You are a representative who always represents many. I am one voice.

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