Jefferson City, Mo. – At tonight's debate in Springfield, Senate candidates Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman all said it was important for US Senators to ignore the will of the people if they are taking a principled stand on a key issue. Their answers came in the first question of the debate, when they were asked about their governing philosophy.
“At tonight’s Springfield debate, Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman didn’t say much, but they did say that US Senators should take principled stands on key issues, even if the people of Missouri express, via popular vote, their opposition,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “It’s noteworthy that Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman all agree that US Senators are elected to put principle before party and vote with their consciences, instead of using only referenda at the ballot boxes as their guiding principles.”
When asked whether US Senators are elected as delegates, to represent the will of the people, or as trustees, to do what they believe is best for their state, all three candidates said they would be a trustee in the Senate for the State of Missouri, voting to ignore the will of the people if it meant taking a principled position on an important issue.
Akin: Another example would be -- there was a Wall Street bailout. This was a great big deal and you don't really know for sure how all of this macroeconomics is going to come off. Everybody was saying, all of the establishment was saying you've got to do this or the economy is going to meltdown and all this kind of stuff. My biggest contributor said you are going to vote for this thing or I'll never talk to you again. It was one of my biggest contributors. I thought about the little letters I get from different widows on a little piece of pink paper with a rose. It says Congress Akin, I trust you. I'm leaving you $5 from my Social Security, you know? I voted no on that thing. That wasn't exactly the popular thing to do. It went against my own political party. I think you always have to put principle over politics. I found that when you do that people find that you're predictable and they like it because they know you're not making deals.
Brunner: Of course John Stuart Mill also weighed into this issue of trustees. He said, “A person whose desires and impulses are their own is said to have character.” And that is absolutely critical, and especially in these very difficult and tough times, we have to look very carefully at those that we put in our sacred trust to go to Washington DC to represent us. And they should represent us as trustees with the ability to exercise their own judgment.
Steelman: I believe that we have a Constitutional Republic and that means that I would advocate that I'm a trustee of the people…I'll give you two examples here in Missouri. Conceal and carry, I was in the legislature, I cosponsored that bill and we passed it in the legislature. That was after the will of the majority in Missouri voted it down…Another example was last year, or two years ago, with Prop B in the HSUS Proposition that people, they wanted to come in a regulate puppy mills. The majority of people in Missouri people passed that. Thankfully, the legislature went in and fixed it…