2017-08-31 / Editorial

Euer must ward off perception pitfalls

For a politician, a single gaffe can leave a lasting impression that may not necessarily encapsulate who they really are as a public servant — the old perception-is-reality pitfall.

From Howard Dean’s “I Have a Scream” speech to Bob Dole’s slip off a stage at a campaign event to Michael Dukakis’ ill-fated tank ride, many have had their personas defined by a split-second poor decision.

Dawn Euer rolled to the state Senate seat vacated by Teresa Paiva Weed in convincing fashion. She won two four-way races, first besting her fellow Democrats with about 48 percent of the vote and then, in even a more impressive showing, she won the general election with approximately 61 percent. She built that winning coalition through a solid ground game that included numerous trips to Jamestown to knock on doors and meet voters face-to-face.

Yet, the lasting takeaway for some was one of her last acts on the campaign trail – an e-mail she sent one hour prior to the start of a forum being hosted by the Taxpayers Association of Jamestown the Wednesday before the election declining to attend. Ostensibly, her reason was what she believed to be a conflict of one of the group’s board members being one of her opponent’s campaign managers. This was not the case and no such conflict existed.

Often in this space, we have opined on the need for people to move beyond their political differences and engage and listen to folks with opposite viewpoints. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow. It’s how we advance as a nation; you know the United States. Any time we share our ideas and thoughts, we strengthen our community. Any time we cut off communication, we weaken it.

By not attending, Euer missed an opportunity. Even if the forum was jam-packed with only partisan Republicans, these still are Euer’s constituents now and she must serve all of them. The best way to do that is to hear what they have to say and what issues are important to them. The more Euer interacts with all of her constituents, the better she will represent them.

We wish Euer well in representing and fighting for our island on Smith Hill, and we’d like to see her get off on the right foot. It would be a shame if all her hard work and effort to meet and connect with people during the campaign was obscured by this one gaffe and the reality of what she could be as a representative is spoiled by the perception spawned from this perceived snub.

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