Residency isn’t a deal-breaker for The Right Stuff, which speaks from personal experience. If living in the vicinity was a requirement, I would have been disqualified from the last four jobs I’ve held. But America is a mobile society, and it is not at all uncommon for an employer to decide the best candidate for a plum position is someone who lives in another ZIP code, or even another time zone.
This does not mean that, as the guy the boss paid moving expenses to bring in, I wasn’t the subject of exceptional scrutiny. This goes with the territory. When it comes to political races, it’s not unreasonable to apply similarly strict scrutiny to interlopers, and, plainly, it’s fair to include longtime roots when weighing a candidate’s qualifications.
That said, before Pinellas County voters head to the polls to decide who will complete the late Bill Young’s term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the question Democrat nominee Alex Sink, formerly of Thonotosassa, ought to have to answer is this:
Your residency in District 13 was established by becoming a renter (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But ahead of Election Day, voters should be able to gauge your commitment to their community, for better or worse. If you don’t win, will you still live in Pinellas County?
It’s not like the question hasn’t been posed (WTSP-TV, Channel 10, attempted to pin her down after she signed her lease in November) but her answer — “You know, I’m looking at you with wonder in my face, because I’m not considering losing the election. There’s only one option, I’m winning this election.” — was painfully elusive.
She was still bobbing and weaving when the question arose again at Monday night’s first of three candidates’ “conversations.”
So. Is Alex Sink committed to Pinellas County, or is she simply committed to occupying a Pinellas County seat on Capitol Hill?
District 13 fence-sitters need to take her evasiveness into consideration.