I believe most people would agree that open government is a prerequisite for a free and democratic society. This unique idea of government for the people by the people is a trade mark of the United States. So why is it that all of our local Tennessee legislative candidates have not shown support for open government. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government sent out an open government survey to all candidates, more than 180 in all and only 32 replied.
Local governments opposed legislation introduced during the last legislative session that sought to beef up transparent government laws. Under the proposal, city and county commissions could have to pay a $50 fine and attorney fees for knowingly violating open meeting laws. The measure failed and the coalition was formed as a compromise.
Why are local governments opposed to accountability unless they have something to hide? Why did House District 22 candidates, Casey Stokes (Dem) and Eric Watson (Rep) both fail to respond to the survey if they don't intend to secret away what they are doing in Nashville and empower corrupt local government? And why was it that House District 24 candidate, Kevin Brooks (Rep) failed to respond if he truly wears a white hat? The same goes for Senate District 9 candidate, Dewayne Bunch (Rep). What is going on?
Both Brooks and Bunch are unopposed, so why should they protect their constituent's interest now the voters don't count, they obviously intend to protect the status quo and become government lackeys. Although after condemning corruption during the Tennessee Waltz sting I would have thought Bunch would be for open government. I was obviously wrong.
Stokes? Who knows where he is coming from? But Watson was a real surprise, I would have bet the farm that he would be clearly and unequivocally for transparent government - it seems not. Seems none of them have the guts to stand up to local government lobbying, so what real good can they be to us when the lobbying really gets dirty.
No matter what happens, seems like the citizens of Bradley County are in for more of the same.
One thing is for sure, whoever wins come election day, their integrity and credibility will have taken a massive leap backwards.
That's what I think. What do you think?
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