Editorial: Quitters can’t be trusted

Aug. 13, 2014 @ 11:20 PM

North Carolinians heading to the polls this year — and any other for that matter — have a 21st century question to ask the politicians wanting their votes. And it is a question they should not have to be asking.

“Are you going to quit?”

Typically, we ask politicians about the issues, how our desires relate to the way they intend to shape policy and what experience they have which qualifies them for office. Those are good questions and should be front and center.

But the responsibility of politicians dutifully and honorably serving their constituents, even through lame-duck status, is not being accepted across the board. The most recent early exit came from Thom Goolsby, a New Hanover County Republican senator.

He left the Senate with five months to go on his commitment. In writing to Gov. Pat McCrory, Goolsby cited the budget-adjusting session of the General Assembly was over.

Residents in his district are no longer properly represented. He’s not the one for them to call anymore. In hindsight, voters shouldn’t have called him to service in the first place. Had they known he was a quitter, they probably wouldn’t.

That’s why voters have to add another question. And then, like the other answers, there is a decision to be rendered on whether the candidates can be believed.

In Goolsby’s case, the irony is in his 2010 campaign platform. He said he wanted to be his county’s jobs senator, and in announcing his decision in January to not seek re-election, he said, “I have been the jobs senator.”

And yet, he’s headed back to the coast without having finished his job.

He’s not the first to exit believing his work was done, trying to get a head start on the next chapter of life. But he is a visible reminder with more than two months left before the midterms we need to be careful whom we choose.

Commitment involves a promise and a trust. Not everyone will qualify.