( – promoted by Michael Bersin)
“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” – Louis D. Brandeis
The dissenting argument against Representative Bob Nance’s policy positions began in January 2011, after he served six years as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Based on historical data, present data, Mr. Nance’s performance in the 96th General Assembly, and his existing political and business relationships, the dissenting opinion delivered substantial factual evidence for constituents to question his performance as their representative.
However, in the process something else happened, forcing this writer to take two steps back and to witness the decay of the citizenry in the political process. Are the existing policy issues a result of Mr. Nance’s role as a legislator, or is the issue the publics’ perception of their elected representatives in the political process?
It took no time for some to defend Mr. Nance. Here is what his supporters had to say, “It’s just fat, dumb Bob. He has no control over his voting record.” That is untrue. However, if his supporters perceive him in that way, why are they his supporters?
“He (Nance) was a good baseball coach.” In what way does that relate to Mr. Nance’s legislative record?
“He (Nance) is just a nice guy.” So was Nero.
One citizen of Ray County explained via an intermediary that the dissenting argument against Mr. Nance’s legislative record is “disrespectful”. No one is in the business of respecting or disrespecting politicians, but it is our business to hold them accountable.
The arguments I received from responsible citizens that vote for Mr. Nance proves that our discourse is clearly dysfunctional and immature. This writer, as of late, has encountered more hearsay about Mr. Nance’s personal life, family, charisma, and past performance as a baseball coach and nothing about his performance as a representative. So, is it Mr. Nance that lacks substance or is it his constituents?
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Nance is a kind and gentle person. I am certain that he is a good family man, community advocate and caring individual. I am even certain that he was a great baseball coach. I do NOT believe he is fat and dumb and I do NOT believe any of the rumors about him or his family. For NONE of that has anything to do with his performance as a representative.
Mr. Nance has been an elected member of the Missouri House of Representatives during a time when his party did and continues to control both the House and the Senate and in some cases retained a super-majority. As Mr. Nance’s record shows, he is a loyal supporter of conservative republican policies at the expense of everyone that isn’t wealthy (a vast majority of his constituents live at or below Missouri’s median income level). With all the advantageous that Mr. Nance has as a republican member of the Missouri House, his record over the last seven years has continued to lack substance, quality, or even the resemblance of achievement. That is the basis of the dissenting argument.
Furthermore, there should be a level of fairness in the process of holding politicians accountable for their record of performance. For example, the publisher of the Excelsior Springs Daily Standard once explained that he had to stop publishing Mr. Nance’s capitol reports because some readers began complaining he received a perception of “favoritism” from the newspaper. Regardless of whether or not that “perception of favoritism” is accurate; does it really matter? Mr. Nance has an obligation to communicate with all his constituents. In a district with a low connectivity rate, utilizing local newspapers within his district is the best means by which he can communicate with thousands of his constituents simultaneously. If a publisher is willing to publish Mr. Nance’s capitol reports, he should be able to without reprisal from specific members of the community, as Mr. Nance’s communications with his constituents benefits the whole.
Finally, Mr. Nance has converted his existing campaign committee (Citizen’s for Nance) and will most likely run as a republican candidate for the Missouri Senate. In the coming months and years, the dissenting argument is looking at Mr. Nance closely and hopes he does the following. First, discuss real issues that affect real Missourians; second, Discuss issues and policy positions in substantive ways utilizing public forums and existing social media; third, hold his constituents responsible for holding him accountable; fourth, conduct regular (at least monthly) town hall meetings during his final session in the Missouri House of Representatives (97th General Assembly); and finally, Mr. Nance should move back to the center and represent all of his constituents equally.