Here’s something unusual in this era of attack ads and hyper-partisanship, an appeal to the brighter side of human nature and a different way of looking at public service.
The remarks below were delivered last Saturday by Rep. Rick Glazier at the swearing in ceremony of first-term Senator Eric Mansfield, who like Glazier, is from Cumberland County.
It is hard to imagine a better way to sum up what a lawmaker should do.
Congratulations my friend and colleague. You have made us very proud—and now, the hard part truly begins.Your charge is to help your constituents solve problems in their lives—for although you can not walk in all 220,000 of their shoes—you can make, more gentle, every step they take by the work that you do.
Your charge is to listen to the words of the people of your district and to catch the notes of urgency in their voices as well as the unsaid pleas in their eyes.Your charge is to do well in your job, but more important, it is to do good with your job.
Your charge is to legislate on issues, large and small, on matters about which you have great experience, but also on ones about which you must learn– and that learning will come in many forms from many people—your charge is to keep your mind open and your body willing to accept that there is much knowledge you possess, but far more that you don’t, and every colleague has an education to give you if you will listen.
Your charge is to fulfill your part of our maintenance obligation together to fight ignorance and prejudice, disease and distrust, illiteracy and apathy and in so doing leave this world a better place for your service and for this General Assembly’s work.
Your job is to be a voice for the voiceless, the vulnerable, and the forgotten when others fail or refuse to hear them.
Your charge is to develop relationships with all of your colleagues, across the aisle, across the chambers, and across the state.Your charge is to find balance between home and job and legislature—and to remember that you are replaceable in the last two, but not the first one.
Your charge is to learn from every stakeholder on every issue, from best practices around the globe, and to take every opportunity to ask the simple open ended questions of how, what, and why on all issues and never stop asking those questions so you can intelligently, thoughtfully and deliberately make long term decisions that are in the best interests of 9.5 million people and their generations to come.
Your charge is to read the polls, but not cater to them; to listen to all the advice you will receive, but make your own decision; and to remember that the people elected you not because of any single issue, but because they believed in your intelligence, integrity, and determination and they expect you to use those same characteristics to make the best decisions you can even if they personally disagree with it.
Your charge is to remember you are but a temporary occupant of your position and never to fall prey to a belief of entitlement or that you should spend more time keeping your job than performing it. Finally, remember that serving in the legislature of NC is an incredible honor bestowed upon you by the people of your district, and you honor them in return by your honesty, candor, effort, compassion, and determination.
You honor them by working for them every minute you are in Raleigh and by helping to leave this world a better educated, safer, healthier, more caring and tolerant place for you having been there. As your friend, I know of no one better to do this job, no one I would rather serve with, and no one who will more diligently and effectively carry out this charge.