It seems to be all too commonplace when an elected official is brought up on charges, especially here in Queens. Over the years, voters have been betrayed by too many of those who swore to protect and serve their constituents. Instead of asking for nothing more than a vote in return for their efforts, they instead seek out graft, political power and a better life for themselves.
The arrests this week of State Sen. Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran are a disappointing reminder that too often the people we choose to represent us in turn choose to represent only themselves.
Our representatives in government should be committed to giving back to the communities they represent and serving as a voice for those who may not have one otherwise. We elect these individuals to fight for us, to stand up for the needs of the community. To turn around and attempt to better serve themselves is not just an abuse of power, it is a violation of the trust we put in those we elect.
The courts will decide the fates of Sen. Smith and Councilman Halloran – they are, of course, innocent until proven otherwise. More importantly, other elected officials should take notice: you are here to serve the people who elected you, not yourselves.