For some, public service is a calling. For others, like Seattle State Senator Guy Palumbo, public service is just a way to become more attractive to the private sector.
This week, Palumbo resigned his position to take a job as a lobbyist for Amazon.
Taking Advantage of the People
When you run for public office, you are asking for the trust of every voter that pulled the handle for you. In essence, you are telling the voters “I am your guy for the next two, four, or six years.”
That is a promise that needs to be kept if our political system is to work. When these representatives resign before their term is done, the seats are often filled with appointments until another representative can be elected.
Even if that chair is filled by someone else for one day, it is one day the voters of that city, state, or country are not properly represented.
Big Contacts, Big Money
One of the reasons companies like Amazon go after politicians is because of the contacts they have made during their political careers. Palumbo no doubt has doors that are open to him that are not open to most people.
In order to take advantage of that, companies like Amazon throw big money on the table to lure these individuals into the private sector.
The answer is NOT to pay elected officials more money, as most positions, even at the city level, pay several more times than the average American makes.
It is about holding these individuals accountable.
There needs to be penalties associated with resignations specifically to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.
When you ask the people for their vote and they provide you with that vote and the faith that you could do the job, the least you can do is remain in office for the entire term.
Palumbo broke that trust, and he should be penalized, not rewarded, for doing so.