Monday, February 25, 2008

City Councilman Called to Iraq

Fresno City Councilman, Larry Westerlund has been called to active duty by the Navy. This isn't the first time he has been called back into active duty, in 1998 he was called to Bosnia to serve. While I am very proud of him for serving it does raise some interesting issues. He will be missing the 8 months that will be remaining in his current term but he is also running for reelection. It appears that if he is reelected he will miss the first 6 months. Now how does this effect his elect ability? Should he still be able to take office, even if he isn't here to take office?

Separately, what do you think about the federal government calling a local official into service. NerdDad and I were talking and he raised a great point that this is usurping the voters' rights. We (or those in his district) chose for him to represent them and now that is being taken from them. The Armed Services doesn't call back members in Congress because they are serving in a different branch of government. Why doesn't that extend to state and local governments?

We have the right to elect whomever we want to without federal interference. So why can they interfere in this situation? Now I am not trying to get anyone to shirk their duty and I am pro-military. I am just curious about how this plays in the context of voter rights. What do you all think?

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