I'm a regular person. I'm not a career politician. I'm new at what they call the "game" of politics. And perhaps I'm a bit naive.
You see, I like to find the good in people. I expect that people recognize I only have good intentions and, when I act, I am acting in good faith on behalf of the people who elected me. I am passionate, sincere, and sought my position because I wanted to help our community. However, it seems that this same desire to help and work with others on important issues has been terribly misunderstood, particularly in light of how things have evolved. Or, perhaps, devolved.
This is a letter I have written to address much of the speculation and misinformation that has been circulating in regards to Accountability Okaloosa and my supposed alighnment with Rep. Gaetz and Peter Bos. I thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and set some things straight.
An open letter to our community:
During the past week, several events have transpired that have compelled me to come forward and address concerns raised by the people of our community. I agreed with the concept and mission of Accountability Okaloosa, which is why I signed on. However, the way it has evolved has led people to believe I was somehow aligned with Rep. Gaetz or bullied by him into supporting it. I am neither aligned with nor feel threatened or bullied by Rep. Gaetz. I was aligned with the concept of accountability and cooperation to address important issues.
However, the spirit and integrity of the Accountability mission have now been called into question, as have my own. I make my own decisions based on the wishes and needs of those who elected me. I continually seek their input as a guide. I believe in treating all people with respect, and considering each issue and individual on their own merit. My approval of the Accountability Okaloosa agenda did not constitute an endorsement of Rep. Gaetz personally, but an endorsement of the issues Rep. Gaetz proposed based on public input. I chose to sign the document because I concurred with the need to move forward with the issues on the agenda.
I am in favor of action that will serve to underscore the importance of these issues and potentially lead to their resolution. I saw this as an opportunity for elected officials to work together on important issues suggested by the public, seeking unique and timely solutions that can only come from cooperative effort.
Unfortunately, it evolved in a way that I didn't anticipate nor welcome. As elected officials, we are elected to represent and should represent our communities in an objective and unbiased manner. Healthy discussions are to be welcomed, as is working cooperatively and recognizing we may not always agree. Perhaps my mistake in signing on was a belief that a unified agreement in working on the issues could overcome differences in personalities, strategies and motives. I thought the idea was a great one. The subsequent document Rep. Gaetz asked us to sign did cause me a certain level of discomfort, but I chose to hold to the belief that the mission and goals were what was important, and... who wouldn't want to be held accountable?
The name-calling, finger-pointing, and outrageous untruths that have been thrown in many directions, including my own, have served as a significant eye-opener. I recognize that though some of you may know me personally, most of you do not and I cannot expect that you know my motivations and intentions. My allegiance is to the people of our community. I am committed to doing all I can to serve you with honor, passion, and loyalty. No one should avoid asking questions or making suggestions for fear of retaliation or attack by those who represent them. I will continue to encourage your input and feedback on all the issues so that I may represent you to the best of my ability.
Prebble Q Ramswell