As a retired educator, I am flabbergasted that Ben Harbin is receiving so much sympathy from voters for his DUI episode which could have had tragic consequences. If I or any other educator had been charged with this offense, we would have lost our teaching certificates and our careers as educators. Why is he getting the benefit of a double standard? Let's not fool ourselves. It is because of his position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
However, I don't recall voters being sympathetic to Robin Williams or Linda Schrenko when they were embroiled in criminal activity. They did not receive free passes. By this favoritism, are we implying that character and principle are no longer important? But those have been the core positions of the Republican Party. If we want to retain our Republican majority in the General Assembly, we must not jettison, but hold fast to our bedrock principles.
And for those who still believe that Harbin has legislative clout, why did the Governor veto $1.2 million for Columbia County Schools and $200,000 from our Sheriff's Department? This was in addition to the $120,000 that was stripped from Stevens Creek Elementary School last year. Finally, it is high time to start restoring credibility and dignity to the position of state representative. It is also time to begin rebuilding the bridge to the governor's office. My vote will be for Lee Benedict on Tuesday. He will represent us with diplomacy, fervor and credibility.
John P. Fillop
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