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Tammy Messina: Candidates must lead by example

Right Here, Right Now!

Posted: May 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.

I am an American first and foremost, and a Republican second.

Do I back all Republicans all the time, just because they are Republicans? No.

Do I expect them to be perfect? No.

Do I expect them to agree with me on all issues? No.

But I do expect some foundational things, call them boundaries or guidelines, within which I expect every candidate to operate regardless of party affiliation.

I expect them to follow the rules, not just the rules to the letter, all the while looking for every loophole in the rules that they can find to skirt the rules. I expect them to follow the rules as they were intended and applying the spirit of the law without looking for a way to twist them to meet their own personal endgame.

I expect them to have integrity. Merriam-Webster defines integrity as: “Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility.”

Incorruptibility? How many politicians can you apply that one to? What is it about government, at all levels, that seems to corrupt so many?

So often I hear, “that’s just the way the game is played,” or “they all do it.” But does that make it right?

By that standard, if, as a legislator, I’m given a car allowance of $1,200 per month, and I lease a car for $1,200 per month, then I’ve operated within the established rules and done nothing wrong. I didn’t even have to slip through a loophole.

But you and I both know that I can lease a very nice car for less than $1,200 per month without being crammed into a sardine can. As a representative of the people, isn’t it incumbent upon me to use sound fiscal principles in determining how to spend our tax dollars? If comparable options are out there for significantly less, wouldn’t someone with the people’s best interests at heart choose that option?

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And using the logic that “everyone else does it” doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

I want elected officials who are willing to truly be representatives of their constituents and who exercise good judgment in the decisions they make on our behalf. And, above all, I want them to be honest.

We, the people, are tasked with the responsibility of making sure that our elected officials continue to operate with the highest levels of honor, integrity and honesty. It’s part of the job that we’ve hired them to do. If they are not performing that job as expected, they must be removed, and it’s our job to do it. Without accountability, corruption is likely to follow.

Unfortunately, not all Republicans pass the test in meeting these foundational requirements. Some may have met them initially, but over time have been corrupted by the political system. When that happens, it is incumbent upon us as voters to remove them from office.

For the first time in many years, Republicans have multiple candidates competing for the same local Central Committee, Assembly and Congressional seats. Regardless of whether the incumbent candidate is Republican, it’s our job to evaluate their job performances, track records, qualifications and character to determine who best should continue to represent us.

Do your homework and research each candidate. Don’t simply cast a vote for someone because you’ve heard his or her name before. Every vote counts, and it does make a difference.

Remember, you are an American first, who happens to be a Republican. And for those of you who aren’t Republican, the same rules apply.

Tammy Messina is a resident of Santa Clarita, a local business owner and a producer for “The Real Side Radio Show.” She can be reached at


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