From the Mailbag: Cold Shoulder from State Legislator

July 21, 2015

Inside Insight

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middle school

‘LIKE SOMETHING FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL’

Since we began inviting readers to tell us their stories about government gone amuck, we’ve received several about current politicians – especially state lawmakers. Unfortunately, most of our storytellers are reluctant to reveal the names of their lawmakers, or rather they’re reluctant to let us reveal the names of their lawmakers, but the stories themselves are so entertaining we can hardly refrain from running them even so.

That was the case with Jordan’s story, sent to us last week by email. Jordan (his real name) seems to have had a falling out with his House member. Here’s how he tells the story.

We were all excited when [NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST] first won the seat. He was a real conservative, unlike [NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST], who had held the seat since some time in the 1990s. I invited HIM to come speak at the shop on a couple of occasions. These were small time fundraisers really. Nothing major, but our friends and people in the community stroked him some $50 and $100 checks. 

We liked him. He supported Gov. Sanford on just about all his budget vetoes. He pushed all the good restructuring bills and voted against the fake ones. He introduced serious tax cut bills. I mean I could go on. 

But then there were a couple of things that gave us pause. (When I say “us” I mean my wife and I, but also our local tea party group.) You’re always going to have certain issues where you disagree with a candidate or an officeholder, and we weren’t expecting 100 percent agreement by any means. But first (this was back when Speaker Harrell was still flying high), someone from our group asked if he was going to support Harrell for Speaker. He gave us an answer that was somewhere between non-committal and “Yes.” That was surprising.

There were a few other thing where it just seemed like he was doing what the leadership wanted even when it went against what he’d said before. He started voting to override all Haley’s budget vetoes. There were a couple of bills that were just sops to special interests; he voted for those. Then, this year, he voted twice to raise the gasoline tax. 

No huge deal, right? We’re all big boys, we can take it when one of our lawmakers doesn’t vote the right way.

Sure. But we’re going to say something to him about it, rest assured. That’s our right and duty, I think. Well, we sent him an email from the group listing several “concerns” about the kinds of votes he was casting. That’s literally what we called them: “concerns.” There was no alarmism, no denunciation, no crazy . Just expressing concern that he seemed to be voting with the leadership on issues where, before, he would have gone against the tide. 

His response was to ignore us. Like shut us out totally. After we sent him that email, he totally stopped talking to us. Won’t talk to our group, won’t return any of our calls, won’t respond to invitations to speak. He won’t respond to us on Facebook. He used to respond to all our stuff at length, but now he says nothing. (I feel like I’m about to break into “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore”!)

I wasn’t sure any of this was intentional until I saw him downtown at one of the shops. I said hi to him, and asked him how he and his wife were doing. He just kind of grimaced and mumbled something and walked away. Really awkward. It was like something from middle school. He’s just acting like we don’t know him and he doesn’t know us.

As far as I can tell, it’s all for sending one email expressing mild reservations about some of his votes. Crazy, huh. 

We agree: crazy. If you’ve got a crazy story – something outrageous, funny, or just weird – involving state or local politicians, let us know. Send them to news@thenerve.org.