Some state lawmakers who will be working on ethics reform this year hear that laws and ethics are not the same.
Director Peggy Kerns of the Center for Ethics in Government says Ethics is a value system, not a series of laws. She says the bottom line of everybody’s ethical standards is based on obeying the laws. But she says there are plenty of gray areas where people have to tap into their personal value system to decide what to do.
But Kerns says it’s hard to be critical and judgmental about a person’s vote if it is rooted in who they are as a person.. She says legislators who have a well-thought out rationale for their decision might gain greater acceptance from a constituency that might otherwise be critical.
Kerns, who is a former Minority Leader in the Colorado house of Representatives, says ethics are like muscles that need to be exercised. She says people are automatically ethical but they have to practice being that. She says it takes courage…and repetition.
Hear Bob Priddy’s story: :60 mp3 peggyva