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Relationship resolutions for Washington lawmakers

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Given the extreme partisanship, infighting, childish antics, and inability to get anything done in our Nation’s Congress- the following list of New Year’s resolutions are being offered for consideration. These resolutions would support healthy and constructive relating among lawmakers, helping them to say what they mean, do what they say they will do- and to work across the aisle for the common good as opposed to their own self interests or the special interests of the few. Lawmakers should consider committing to even just a few of them as this would help forge more productive working relationships which in turn would lead to the right climate for effectively conducting the nation’s business.

  • Be the representative you promised to be on the campaign trail. Mixed messages, flip flops, hidden agendas, and behavior unfitting the job are not what the voters had in mind when they chose you to represent their interests
  • Consider the possibility that someone on the other side of the aisle could be right about something and/or have an idea that is worth hearing and considering
  • Demonstrate respect in all your dealings with others and practice good decorum as these will set the right tone, provide a positive example and will never be misinterpreted as weakness by your colleagues, staff or constituents
  • Learn to listen while other’s speak, acknowledging that you have heard what they have said before offering a response
  • Before opening your mouth to offer an opinion on a piece of legislation, read and digest it first so you know what it contains and whether it does or does not meet the basic requirements that you are looking for
  • Resolve to tell the whole truth, not just spin it until the parts that you believe people want to hear are the only ones that come out
  • Avoid attacking the man or woman when it is their message you don’t like
  • Think through your decisions before making them and be willing to admit you are not sure (if you are not) and/or need more time or clarification before deciding.
  • Do not take sides as you tell yourself, “They are not like us.” We are either on the same side or we are not- in which case we are all losers.

Most of all know that what people will see and remember are your actions. All the carefully worded speeches, promises, dramatic moments acted out before the cameras and the positions articulated to get the vote of a certain racial, ethnic or religious group aren’t fooling anyone. The voting public is smarter than that. They won’t fall for the mixed messages for long. They will read between your lines and remember the next time you are up for reelection.

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