Kathleen’s Dobie’s account of “Senators Behaving Badly” (News, Jan. 23-30) was right on the mark. I was present at the hearing on SB 165, Sen. Patricia Miller’s bill for a one-year hiatus between serving in the Legislature and becoming a lobbyist. I can’t imagine what Sen. Riegsecker and Sen. David Long were talking about in their remarks about inappropriate comments from citizens. (Riegsecker was present and Long heard about the testimony later.)
I heard two speakers from the League of Women Voters present a dispassionate statement about the need to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest; I saw a professor from IUPUI perform as a master teacher, calmly explaining the current state of affairs in which many students are cynical of legislators’ motives and then responding to rather belligerent questions with no apparent pique; I heard citizens urging support for the bill and asking legislators to follow the lead of other states who have addressed this problem. Legislators need to remember that they serve the people. Courteous treatment of constituents seems pretty basic.
Public funding of campaigns would take a burden off legislators seeking to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interests. Please visit indianacleanelections.org for information about local efforts to bring about this important improvement to our system.