The question is as revealing of Lee Alexander's attitude as it is insightful of his philosophy on how government should operate.
"Why are we afraid to find out what the people want?" Alexander asks.
Indeed. As Alexander seeks to join a mostly autocratic board of county commissioners, he wonders if our elected officials have lost sight of their roles as public servants. Voters "elect commissioners to speak for them, not just voice the commissioners' beliefs," Alexander says in a way that is both convincing and refreshing in it simplicity.
One recent issue that Alexander uses to demonstrate his point is the controversy over privatizing the county's emergency medical services. Alexander, an Inverness police officer, is against EMS privatization. But he believes the issue should have been put to voters via a referendum so the commissioners would be able to accurately gauge the public's opinion.
Public input is the central theme of all of Alexander's proposals, which include everything from streamlined management to economic development to better programs for our youth. He is a zealous advocate of getting private citizens involved in decision-making through advisory and research boards.
In short, Alexander advocates the public's becoming more intrusive on the government, instead of the other way around.
Alexander, a Democrat, literally spews his ideas in a rapid-fire barrage of enthusiasm seldom seen among County Commission candidates. He is organized, informed and eager. And he has waged a high-road, issues-oriented campaign against his opponent, Republican Jim Fowler, whose plentiful financial resources have made Alexander's candidacy an uphill battle.
Fowler may have more money and political clout than Alexander, but his platform pales in comparison. Fowler's candidacy lacks originality and does not emphasize citizen involvement.
In the mind of the average voter, the worth of a commissioner often is measured is his ability to have access to and get results from the elected official. If that is the yardstick you use, then Alexander should be your choice. It appears he would be much more accessible, and frankly more concerned, about solving your problems than Fowler, whose attitude sometimes borders on aloofness.
In contrast, Alexander promises to be a true representative of the people. We strongly urge Citrus County voters to support him Nov. 8.
OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY
Jim Fowler is invited to respond to this editorial recommendation. The reply must be received no later than 5 p.m. Monday and is limited to 250 words. Deliver to Jeff Webb, Editor of Editorials, Citrus Times, 3822 East Gulf to Lake Highway, Inverness, FL. Or fax to (904) 344-3121.