Del. Frank Turner raised a fundamental question of ethics in his Oct. 4 letter. Notably, does an elected official represent the citizens of his district or his appointed legislative position?
Most of us believe that representation of the citizens comes first. Del. Turner's response to that principle stands in stark contrast. I do not fault his position on the issue of gaming. I fault his feckless justification for saying one thing and enthusiastically doing another.
The citizens of Howard County's District 13 clearly come a distant second to Del. Turner's assigned duties as chairman of a legislative subcommittee. He had openly, publicly and conspicuously opposed a position that he uninterruptedly supported. To the astonishment of many observers, he completely disregarded the appropriate remedy of recusing himself from participation in the floor debate.
This is what judges do when they have a conflict of interest. That would have been appropriate course for Del. Turner; despite what other chairmen might have done. Instead, he spent six hours of legislative floor time vigorously defending legislation he claimed to oppose. This kind of political double-speak is why so many people today are turned off from the political process.
Ed Priola is a former Republican candidate for the House of Delegates in District 13.