When Gov. Bill Ritter announced he was leaving office to spend more time with his family, some greeted the news with skepticism and doubt. After so many scandals involving public figures, it’s easy to assume ulterior motives.
But I’m giving the governor the benefit of the doubt. I do believe that sometimes elected officials leave office for the sake of their families, because I did it myself.
Public service — at any level — comes at a heavy price. As a public figure, the governor has spent the better part of the last four years in a fishbowl. There’s no such thing as privacy, or time away from the job. Every decision is carefully watched, analyzed and scrutinized by the public.
At the same time. the governor’s obligations to his wife and four kids don’t go away. The balancing act must be extremely difficult, and frankly I admire him for having done it as long as he has. And I don’t blame him one bit if he feels his kids and wife need more of his attention on the home front.
Heaven knows I haven’t always agreed with Gov. Ritter, and when I was in the legislature I was a frequent opponent of his policy initiatives. But when it comes to his decision to be more available as a father and husband, I can offer only admiration and support.
Rob Witwer, who grew up in Evergreen and currently lives in Genesee, is a former member of the state House of Representatives.