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Elected officials, your bar is higher

We shook our heads in sadness to read in recent weeks of not one but two state lawmakers charged with drunken driving.

First, police in early April in Livingston County arrested state Rep. Jewell Jones, a Democrat from Inkster, for allegedly driving drunk, resisting arrest, and illegally carrying a weapon.

Then, on April 30, Grand Rapids-area police arrested state Rep. Bryan Posthumus, a Republican from that area, also for allegedly driving drunk after he rolled his vehicle in a crash.

Drunk driving endangers the lives not only of those stupid enough to get behind the wheel but of every person that drunk driver passes while driving.

Any drunk driver should face punishment, but seeing not one but two elected officials commit the crime disheartens us especially.

When we elect our representatives to city halls or the halls of the state or federal capitals, we place in them great trust and expectations that they will not only represent our interests in policy decisions but also represent our community on that broader stage. We trust they will reflect the characters and values of our communities. And we place in them great trust to make sound judgements.

When a lawmaker gets drunk and gets behind the wheel, they endanger lives the same as any drunk driver but also break that great trust placed in them by the greater public.

Jones and Posthumus both deserve their day in court, same as anyone else. But, if prosecutors prove their alleged crimes, we hope they face consequences not just in court but also in the Legislature.

And we urge voters to remember the character — or lack thereof — they showed.

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