05/20/13 — Sad day: Representative's trial -- and others like it -- depressing commentary

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Sad day: Representative's trial -- and others like it -- depressing commentary

It is too early to say whether former State Rep. Stephen LaRoque is guilty of actual wrongdoing.

A court will determine that.

But as his trial begins, there should be a prompt to wonder about the state of the political system -- and the men and women who are a part of it.

This is not the first time a question has been raised about a leader in state government -- and it likely won't be the last.

There have been more than a few ethics concerns that have become major scandals over the last few years. Some have even landed some politicians in jail.

And while there are many honest politicians -- and sometimes accusations are more about politics and appearance than truth -- there is a scary trend at all levels of political service.

Call it cutting corners and a willingness to blur the lines when it comes to ethics.

There are standards that should be the watchwords for anyone who is entrusted with serving the public. And there should be rules for conduct -- especially when it comes to money and influence.

Perhaps the LaRoque trial will give us the chance to think as a state and country about what we want those standards to be -- and what is and is not acceptable from our leaders, Republican and Democrat, at all levels.

Public service is a noble cause, but it is also holds the potential for personal gain.

And it must be policed and standards enforced -- no matter who is in charge.

Published in Editorials on May 20, 2013 11:08 AM