If Elected, I Promise to…

Politicians are always good at making promises during their campaigns and most voters are gullible enough to believe that what they are promising will happen once they are elected.

Many readers probably remember reading about the “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” promise supposedly made by the Republican Party during the Presidential campaign of Herbert Hoover in 1928.

Maybe you remember the promise from George H.W. Bush in 1988 who said, “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

We’ve also witnessed campaign promises being made on the local level. I remember hearing some of the commission/mayoral candidates saying they would be more civil and respectful toward the public during meetings. That lasted about an hour into their first meeting.

Back in 2008, Attorney General Candidate Tim Fox talked a lot about the problems with Montana’s Sex Offender Registry. He promised in a press release dated 09/16/2008 that if elected he would “have it fixed within six months of taking office.” 

Fox did not win that race, but he did get elected in 2012. He took office in January 2013.

So Fox’s past promises made a recent story from the Associated Press (AP) interesting. They reported that they “analyzed a copy of the registry database, received in a public records request. It found that about 13 percent of the 5,432 offenders on the registry as of early August were past due with their address verification, compared to 26 percent in June of 2011.”

The AP did rightly give credit for the improvement to former Attorney General Steve Bullock, now governor, and current Attorney General Fox.

Congrats to Bullock and Fox for making some headway, but Fox should build on these successes and not settle for anything except complete compliance. It appears he does not see it that way. He said, “The target is always zero. But as a practical matter we can’t ever get to zero.” The other troubling part reported is that “he has not changed the staffing levels in the unit tasked with helping police locate offenders.”

Besides, there’s another election coming up and more promises to be made…

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