Saturday, June 6, 2015

Leadership by Elected Officials

Paid petition carriers are out today in Lincoln and Omaha, seeking signatures to curtail the provisions of the death penalty bill that was passed by the Unicameral, vetoed by the Governor, and his veto overridden by the Legislature. The petition also calls for putting the issue on the ballot for the 2016 general election. The Governor is encouraging the petition to get the issue on the ballot, since he feels  a majority of Nebraska voters support retention of the death penalty. Our Senator Mark Kolterman supported the passage and the Governors veto override. As a citizen, I support the elimination of the death penalty and suspect the majority of voters in Kolterman's 24th District may as well. However, I believe Senator Kolterman, and the 30 who voted to override the Governor's veto, did so in providing the leadership we expect of elected officials, without necessarily following the wishes of the majority of their constituents. The challenge of leadership is in being able to sense how far out front the leaders can go, without loosing most of their followers. That sixth “sense” is what determines the effectiveness of a politician. Leadership by definition implies being out front with ideas that will be beneficial for the organization. I respect Senator Kolterman and those who supported the override for their courage and commitment to the long range “good of the State” even if a majority of voters may not agree. But, I believe they will. 

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