Angelo Castillo, Commissioner, Pembroke Pines
Last week: Those whom we elect are entrusted with the solemn duty of creating their own districts. When they abuse their power by gerrymandering, just to serve themselves or their political party, they are breaking their oath and committing a serious sin against democracy. More than any other, three policies determine the health of our democracy – the voting laws, the redistribution rules and campaign finance. When these lean towards the public interest, we do well. When they lean in favor of partisanship or personal interests, democracy does not work. Here is the proof – I bet you can trace just about any problem you are unhappy with at any level of government down to at least one of these governing dynamics. When people have free and secure ways to vote, when they elect representatives from compact and contiguous communities sharing common attributes, and when financial interests are no more important to the outcome of an election than the voters themselves – same, our democracy thrives. Regardless of party affiliation, make it a litmus test for everyone you elect. Emphasize fairness in voting, redistribution and campaign finance. Our excellent system of self-government will serve us much better that way.
Looking forward: This holiday season, take the opportunity to thank our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and essential employees in the private sector for the good service they provide to us every day. Let’s show our thanks to them while doing our part to stay alert to the new variant without panic, to help out in the way and to take personal action where we need it. Only by building a team committed to winning the fight against COVID can we ultimately be successful. Be part of this team and play a part in this achievement. We can overcome everything together.