State senator holds true to his campaign pledges

By Mike Anthony

As we’ve written before, it’s rare to find elected officials who remember the promises they made when they originally ran for office.

More often than not, candidates who seek office on a reform platform wind up drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid shortly after their election.

That Kool-Aid must be some powerful stuff, as the elected officials who drink it refuse to rock the boat and become a rubber stamp for whatever is placed in front of them.

But some elected officials simply refuse to drink it.

For example, the members of the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors — Chairman Aaron Hilmer, Treasurer Bonnie Stegman and Secretary Ed Ryan — are among that elite group of elected officials who continue to hold true to the principles on which they ran for office.

The same also can be said of Scott Sifton, D-Affton, who was elected to the state’s District 1 Senate seat in November 2012.

During his campaign, Sifton called for a complete ban on lobbyists’ gifts to state legislators, citing the hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts state elected officials receive each year from lobbyists. He pledged that the first piece of legislation he would file would be a total ban on lobbyist gifts to legislators, their staffs and their families. And he did just that.

Less than a month after his election, Sifton prefiled the bill banning gifts to legislators, their staffs and their families. The measure also contained new language intended to address the growing practice of using campaign committees to avoid disclosure.

He said lawmakers should not need to have their meal expenses covered when taxpayers already give them $104 for meals and lodging each day the Legislature is in session.

Unfortunately, some of our legislators appear to enjoy riding the gravy train of lobbyists’ gifts. So we weren’t surprised that Sifton’s bill didn’t go very far.

During his Senate campaign, Sifton also pledged to continue his practice of never accepting a meal, trip or gift from a lobbyist.

And he has kept that pledge, according to

, a website that details lobbyists’ spending. Too bad the same can’t be said about all our local legislators, some of whom routinely accept meals, baseball tickets and other gifts.

While we urge our local legislators to follow Sifton’s example and not accept such gifts, we’re inclined to believe they will continue to do so.