Stewart’s Blog: We Should Not Let Elected Officials Forget Campaign Promises

Stewart’s Blog: We Should Not Let Elected Officials Forget Campaign Promises

Often times campaign promises are vague, emotional words devised by a crafty politician to gain favor with voters. After elections, losers disappear and the winners -along with most voters – forget the campaign promises rather quickly.

However, sometimes promises are clear, verifiable, and have consequences when broken.

One of the most famous campaign promises was George H. Bush’s “read my lips no new taxes” pledge that went out the window after he was elected.

Bush’s promise was clear and easily fact-checked. He broke it. He lost the next election.

President Obama’s promise that you can “keep your doctor” under the Affordable Care Act did not cost him an election. But his broken promise caused his party a lot of problems during the recent elections. Once again, it was a promise that was clear and verifiable.

Here in Tallahassee, Mayor Andrew Gillum made a clear and verifiable promise with regards to how he would serve the citizens of Tallahassee when he was a candidate for the office he now holds.

When asked how he would meet the responsibilities of the Leadership Mayor position with his current 40 hour a week job that paid six figures, he told a reporter he would cut back on the job and reduce the salary in half if elected.

Due to Mayor Gillum’s unwillingness to address his pledge, we had to wait two years until tax filings with the IRS were made public to find out if he kept his promise.

He did not!

Instead, Mayor Gillum kept his 40-hour a week job that paid him $133,000 and he also collected his $76,000 salary as the Leadership Mayor. The Mayor had good year -he pulled down a cool $209,000 in 2015.

By the way, Gillum voted to raise taxes and the fire service fee and saw no problem with $175,000 salaries for top city staff.

Will Gillum’s broken promise have consequences? Only time will tell.

And so with TR’s mission of keeping voters informed, we look to two newly elected leaders who have made clear and verifiable promise during their campaigns.

First, there is Sheriff Walt McNeil. He made it clear that the increasing crime rate in Leon County was a major reason he should be elected. He held the incumbent Sheriff, Mike Wood, accountable through aggressive campaign advertisements even though the crime rate was driven by City of Tallahassee incidents.

McNeil’s response was, as Sheriff, he could lower the crime rate throughout Leon County.

This is a verifiable and easily measured  promise. McNeil has four  years to get the crime rate under control.

Second there is Superintendent Rocky Hanna. In a controversial campaign devoid of much talk about the issues, Hanna made two significant promises that are verifiable.

First, Hanna took the position that  a new high school was not needed on the southside. Instead, he promised significant renovations to southside facilities.

Second, he campaigned to move more money from administrative expenses into the classroom.

Hanna’s promises can easily be verified.

Both of these elected officials have been given the trust of the voters based in part on what they said they would do if elected. It is our job at Tallahassee Reports to keep you informed about the progress, or lack of progress, in keeping their campaign promises.

One Response to "Stewart’s Blog: We Should Not Let Elected Officials Forget Campaign Promises"

  1. One issue that I hope Rocky Hanna does not keep is that the southside does not need a new high school. There have been renovations to Rickards H.S. over the last several years. That is not the issue. We need the school to move. I believe a move for our inner city schools (high school and middle schools) to outside the Capital Circle corridor would allow less congestion, current school properties to be sold and revenue made to be put into the new schools built. Moving away from our crime ridden streets would allow for less safety issues and possibly cut down on absenteeism from class. Ultimately, providing better education that would lead to higher graduation rates.

    Many of the schools on the southside are well below capacity levels. The county has continuously put a band-aid over an open wound that will not stop bleeding. Our system refuses to learn and yet our tax dollars continue to be used in classrooms where there are no students. Combining some inner-city schools and selling off current property would allow the county and school system to grow exponentially and therefore provide better education opportunities for our children.

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