Now that the end of a painfully long process of modifying the district boundaries of your friendly neighborhood state representative and state senator is on the horizon, all is well in state government, right?
The next battle for Pennsylvania voters should be a campaign to force members of the state legislature to pass a law that would compel House and Senate members to resign before running for other offices.
That requirement applies to most elected officials in Philadelphia government — where there is speculation that Mayor Michael Nutter might step down to take a post in the Obama administration if President Barack Obama defies the odds and gets re-elected in November — and it’s a good rule. It forces politicians to focus on the jobs to which they were elected. They get distracted when they flirt with other offices, and that is counter to the best interests of their constituents.
Recall that in the April 24 election, voters in the Far Northeast’s 169th Legislative District had double duty. They had to vote twice for the same office: Once for a special election to fill the remainder of popular Rep. Dennis O’Brien’s two-year term, and in the regular primary to pick candidates for the two-year term that begins in January.
There would’ve been no need for a special election had Rep. O’Brien, knowing that he would run for City Council in 2011 — a job to which he had long aspired — not run for re-election in 2010. Had he known he would have had to resign from his House seat to run for another office (Council), he might well have done the right thing and not sought another House term only to abandon it halfway through
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