• Kelli Reid

A Commitment to Fair Campaign Practices

I recently welcomed the opportunity to sign and mail in the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission’s Statement of Fair Campaign Practices. It was an easy decision, although signing the statement was entirely optional. Trust in government is at an all time low, and news abounds about unfair campaign practices, as evidenced by a recent three-part series, Anatomy of a Smear Campaign, that ran locally this week in the Wichita Eagle. Read more here: 

Part 1: Who framed Brandon Whipple

Part 2: Sleaze with a capital S

Part 3: Broken politics, broken alliances

Advisors forewarn about the choppy political waters that I’m destined to navigate in making the decision to run for public office. I certainly do not look forward to the possibility that I may one day have my name or reputation smeared across the city for all to see. I’m disheartened when I hear people say, “I get it, it’s expected, it’s politics”. This dysfunctional norm does not represent me, nor do I represent it. While maintaining a true north in politics may seem an impossible course to chart, it’s easy when viewed from the perspective of public service. I believe our most important duty as public servants is to be a steward of the public trust. Let us never forget this core commitment as government leaders, candidates, elected officials, and administrators. 

Discussions about the political landscape are complex and deep-seeded. Talk of politics often brings up words like slimy, dirty, shady, and corrupt. This narrative makes it nearly impossible for we, the people, to want to get involved. There is a sentiment among folks who advise not to bother challenging the status quo or dominant systems of power and control, because it’s a waste of time. I challenge that sentiment. I challenge that the ugly side of government which litters our airways and perpetuates distrust, wins. Not every time. The real fact is, a lack of trust, coupled with a gaping political divide, is rapidly eroding our nation and the very strength and capacity of our community. 

I signed the Statement of Fair Campaign Practices with pride in my integrity and with a commitment to myself and my team from day-one, that I would in no way engage in the very practices that have alienated and kept government from the people. Slanderous smear tactics and dark political strategies are the ugly side of politics. What there is for us all to be proud of are those among us who stand up and say, “I will not participate”. Personally, I will not concede my values or perpetuate a norm I do not favor. I will not ever engage in actions or behaviors that are intended to slander, defame, grossly misrepresent, or express unfounded accusations that create or exploit doubt about candidates, my opponent, or my fellow public servants. Today, trust wins.

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