Hopes for Tom Rice

November 19, 2012 

Dear Tom,

I did not vote for you. However, I wish you well.

At one time I was a staff director for a U.S. representative and know something about what you are about to step into. For whatever it is worth, here are some thoughts to ponder in your transition.

You were elected to represent everyone, not just the folks who voted for you. Keep an open mind and an open door.

You are a representative and will find yourself trying to figure out what your constituents want in this very diverse district. But there will be times when you will find yourself not voting the way a majority of your constituents (including hardcore supporters) want. This will be a time for your “profile in courage.”

Don't get sucked into signing onto ideological statements that forever and a day say that you will do this or not to that. People change; times change.

Don't think that compromise is a four letter word. It is not. Sam Nunn, the former senator from Georgia, well respected on both sides of the aisle, was asked what he thought of the gridlock in the present day Congress. Sam said, “I got sent to Washington to compromise and get things done. If there had been no compromise, there would have been no United States.”

Don't demonize people. People are never the enemy. Find something good about the folks you disagree with the most.

Finally, remember that laughter is the grace of God. As I stepped back and looked at some of what I saw in Congress, I couldn't help but laugh.

The writer lives in Pawleys Island.

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