Westerville

We will not apologize

To the Editor:

We write in reply to a Letter to the Editor in the Oct. 17 edition of the ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion from Larry Morse. In it, Mr. Morse asked that we apologize for a "slur on the integrity of the other candidates."

The central issue is our refusal to violate the Westerville Board of Education's Code of Ethics by entering into a conflict of interest by accepting money and campaign help from an employee union whose contract we will negotiate and approve as board members. Each of our opponents in the Board of Education race chose to violate the code and pursue the union's help.

Mr. Morse was offended by this passage in a letter from Luke Davis: "Representing the public is a matter of trust which should not be taken lightly. If the rules of conduct are not taken seriously during the campaign, why should the public expect different behavior following election?" Luke asked that the candidates respond, and explain to voters why they believe they are justified in engaging in the conflict of interest.

We stand by our position. We do not believe an apology is in order. But an explanation from our opponents certainly is. The purpose of election campaigns is to give the public a chance to evaluate those who want to represent them. When candidates stonewall the public and refuse to explain their actions, voters should have no expectation of transparency following election.

For those who are unfamiliar with this issue, the "ethics" section of our website at ForResponsibleChange.com explains it more fully. We will keep it active through Election Day, and we will post any explanations our opponents offer.

Jim Burgess
Luke Davis
John Sodt
candidates, Westerville Board of Education

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