The Importance of Integrity in Government
We live in a society governed by elected officials. Whether it’s someone on the school board, a member of congress, or a mayor, our government is led by individuals elected to represent the people. Unfortunately, there are times when those represented either don’t include us, or the officials just aren’t really representing the people at all.
The most obvious way of determining whether a candidate will represent us is to examine their views on issues. More importantly, however, is to ascertain if they have integrity. The reason this quality is so vital is that once elected, officials are often approached to change their stance on various matters. Officials with integrity will feel compelled to continue holding the same positions on issues that they did when elected.
When trying to determine if a candidate has integrity, examine the following:
How do they handle conflict? People with integrity work to keep things calm. Those lacking integrity tend to create chaos, conflict and drama as a way to keep others in turmoil and potentially distract from the issues at hand. They also do this to make themselves seem more important.
How do they deal with responsibility? People with integrity take responsibility. By comparison, those lacking integrity blame others.
Do they promote the ideas of others? People with integrity are humble and secure. They coach and develop others and promote their ideas. Those lacking integrity tend to fear others will surpass them.
Call to Action
There’s more to it than just voting for someone we think has integrity and shares our views. We also have a responsibility to encourage people we know to stand up and run for office and govern with integrity. We hear all the time that there weren’t choices worth voting for on the ballot. These folks do exist; they just may not realize they would be supported if they ran for office.
Here are some additional ways to get involved in community government:
- Attend town hall meetings: Town hall meetings are created to provide elected officials an opportunity to interact with their constituents. These meetings provide a way to speak directly to representatives about issues.
- Vote: Not just in “major” elections but in local ones—which often have very poor voter turnout—as well. Visit the State of Hawaii Office of Elections website at Elections.Hawaii.gov to learn how to register and where local polling places are.
- Become a poll worker: For elections to run smoothly, people are needed to work the voting polls. Contact your town registrar or local election office for more information about becoming a volunteer.
- Contact local officials: Most officials like to hear from constituents. Sending a letter or making a phone call is a great way to ask a question, voice a concern, or make a suggestion. Visit usa.gov/elected-officials to find local and national contact information.
Pono Moment is provided as a regular feature to share how being pono affects our life.
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