Bring civility back

By: 
Ogden Driskill

To the Editor:

I am writing this on the Saturday before the primary election
on Tuesday.  

Win or lose, I wanted to thank the voters of Senate District 1 for their support and help through the years. I truly did (do) the best I can to represent their views and wishes. It is a tough job making many constituents feel hurt, abused, and angry. There is almost never a bill that all feel happy about. I truly do not know of a single legislator that I have worked with in my 12 years that didn’t think they were doing the right thing for the State of Wyoming and their constituents. I am proud to have worked with all of them. Their views and mine might not have aligned — but we did what we thought was best through our and our constituents’ eyes. 

We agree and disagree on 500-plus recorded votes a year —obviously we vote for and against each other constantly. We must learn how to get over our losses quickly and work on the next issue at hand. 

Writing this before the election lets me give you my feelings as to our process as I have lived it without looking like a sore loser or a ungrateful winner.

In the 12 years I have been a legislator I have seen the civility slip to a level that was incomprehensible a decade ago. Absolute disrespect for people trying their hardest to represent their views and ideas makes it very hard to keep from having a bias. It is disheartening when the facts can’t stand and people put absolute lies, slander and misdirection in print and online. It makes good decisions harder than ever for the honest voter.

I have been run down about who my friends are, who supports me (thank you of those who do), who donates money to my cause, disparaging remarks about my wife and family, and even who I chose to talk to. It is now at a new level where sitting legislators are doing the same to each other. It is hard to respect — or work with — a legislator who has spread lies and mistruths about you in a campaign.

Our body is based on respect and character — those who do not have both usually are ineffective and never rise to leadership. I have an ask from each of you going forward: Please respect those who represent you, whoever they are, give them positive feedback about what they are doing, whether you agree or not. Let them work with and have their private opinions without publicly disparaging them for doing what we all do — expressing our First Amendment rights. 

Making hard decisions and having it all done in the public eye is no small feat. I pray for a less
acrimonious time where we all can work together for the better of Wyoming — not for our individual interests or party.

Until we can find a respect for those who work for us and represent us, we will have a hard time getting the best possible people we can to represent us. Often the best people sit on the sidelines unwilling to have the personal attacks on themselves
and family.

We collectively should publicly reject these tactics and people who use them. I am saddened that there were negative advertising, robo calls and texts with my name on them. My campaign did not condone negative advertising, texts or robo calls. I sent out one flyer and did radio ads,
newspapers and handouts. My apologies to those who were pestered; we had no control over any of these. I wish I could have stopped them.

I am forever grateful for the friends made and the relationships with
individuals, cities, towns, counties and agencies. I have had a lifetime experience in the Wyoming Legislature. I hope that time will show my dedication to northeast Wyoming and Wyoming in general. I pray my grandkids and great grandkids, and yours, can see and enjoy the fruits of my work.

Once again, many thanks for the pleasure of working for you, be it in the past or in the future. I am a huge believer in our system in the United States and in Wyoming: The voter is always right and whomsoever is representing will do their best through their eyes.

I salute and support the winner, whoever that may be. Time will tell of the wisdom of our choices. 

 

— Ogden Driskill 

 

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