Integrity? How Ironic.
An Open Letter to State Rep. Lindsey Holmes
(D) (R), of Anchorage, from a constituent, regarding her change of political parties, just days before the legislative session.
Dear Representative Holmes:
I wanted to share something with you that I found on the Internet. I know that you’re not supposed to believe everything that you read there, but I thought this was an interesting snippet:
When someone goes to your reelection website, this is the first image and statement they are presented with..
“Public service is about integrity, hard work, and an honest concern for the future of all Alaskans.” I think this statement deserves a little deconstruction. If one doesn’t have integrity, hard work and concern are, in my estimation, meaningless. If one doesn’t have integrity, how are we to know what someone is actually working hard for? If one doesn’t have integrity, is someone actually concerned, and is that concern a facade to hide his or her actual intentions?
Which brings me to my problem – you don’t have any integrity. Switching your party affiliation within weeks of the election is a personal affront to every voter that cast votes for you – including me. I think I am not alone in the perception that your party switch is something that you had been considering for some time. I think most people would believe that you at least had an inkling that you would switch parties well before the election – in which case, you withheld information that many of your constituents would believe to be critical in their choice in the voting booth.
But perhaps I am mistaken, and you considered your party change only recently. That does not make the sin any less egregious. That would indicate to me that your decision was not properly considered and based on personal and/or political gain, rather than your actual beliefs.
I am going to anticipate your argument that your personal views have not changed, and you’ve realized that they better align with the Republican caucus than the Democratic caucus. Even if that were true, and even if I were inclined to agree with you issue by issue, the difference is that now, your procedural and party-line votes will now represent the agenda of the Republican Party. Dozens, if not hundreds of party-line votes – most will be inconsequential, but many, critical. Therefore, this is about a lot more than how a single representative votes.
That wasn’t the case with Lindsey Holmes, Democrat, was it?
You might argue that party affiliation is less important than the specific beliefs of the representative. However, your switch in affiliation drastically changes how progressives and progressive issues are represented in the house by granting the Republicans a super-majority.
I think the thing I find most distressing about this situation is that my most cynical beliefs about politics have been reaffirmed. Ethics – real ethics – are not just about complying with the rules and laws. They are about doing what is right. If you are going to put yourself up for election as a Democrat, campaign as a Democrat, and raise money as a Democrat, I believe you have a moral commitment to your constituency to represent us as a Democrat. If your beliefs are not in sync with the Democratic Party, you should change affiliation, but only after you have fulfilled your term. Let the voters decide with all of the information.
I believe that fundraising, running and winning reelection as a Democrat, then changing your affiliation constitutes a moral fraud against your constituents. Just because the rules of the House and the laws of the state don’t preclude it, that does not make it right to deceive and abandon the people of District 19. If the voters of District 19 had wanted to send a Republican to the House, we can a completely viable Republican candidate to vote for in the general election. It is telling that he lost. Perhaps if you had told the electorate that you were a Republican, you would have lost, too.
If there is a silver lining in these events, it is this: I consider myself to be a well-informed voter, but I tend not to be too involved in the debate of issues. But now, I have been transformed into an activist. I personally think you should resign. I would rather have no representation in Juneau than be represented by someone who has only her own (and her benefactor’s) interests at heart. If there’s a recall petition, not only will I sign it, I will personally carry it to every door in District 19.
I found this on the Re-elect Rep. Lindsey Holmes Facebook page. The people you refer to here are Democratic voters you asked to volunteer to deliver campaign materials door to door. The people-power you refer to helped elect you, and you’ve defrauded every one of them of their time as volunteers, and many of them of their money in the form of donations and personal resources (gasoline, food donations, etc). All so you could be elected as a Democrat, and switch your affiliation to Republican. How many of those volunteers do you suppose would have been there, had they known then what they know now? Do you suppose that Hollis French would have been as active and as hard-working to raise funds and campaign with you, had you been a Republican? I suppose when you piss off the people-power, all that is left is corporate money. I wonder if you’ll be able to find any of that…
One last point: The fact that the Republican caucus would accept you in the first place – under these circumstances, and with an apparent plum of a committee assignment as a reward, just shows that they are as morally bankrupt as you are. You deserve each other. An election is a lot like a wedding – a public promise – in this case, to represent the people in a particular way. Changing your affiliation is much like cheating on your spouse – if you’ll do it to the Democrats, you’ll do it to the Republicans. The Republicans aren’t getting any great deal here, either.
About that resignation thing I mentioned above – I think you should. Show us that “Genuine Leadership for West Anchorage” that you so loudly proclaim on your reelection website. I am prepared to show that kind of leadership, if I have to knock on every door in District 19.
Louis M. (Wigi) Tozzi, Jr.
Wigi Tozzi has lived in Alaska since 1986. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he earned two degrees in Communication. He lives in Anchorage and is the owner of Alaska Vacation Store.
Editors’ Note: For those interested, there is a Recall Lindsey Holmes Facebook Page —–> HERE.