Editorial: Ventura’s pay complaint is a sad comment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Sometimes, Gov. Jesse Ventura just doesn’t seem to get it.

In lamenting last week that the governor’s salary is too low, he again showed why his popularity has slipped. The comment summed up a lot of what has been wrong with his leadership.

The governor is paid $120,000 to be the elected leader of the state, a responsibility that surely makes him one of the most important people in the state. By that reasoning, it’s certainly true that the governor’s pay doesn’t match his immense responsibilities.

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But this is public service. The point of politics is not supposed to be making money. It’s supposed to be a noble calling for those who would dedicate their talents to the betterment of the community. Office holders need to get a living wage, for sure, but for whom is $120,000 a year not enough to get by?

In addition, anybody who can get elected governor to begin with is likely to be wealthy already. What’s the point in spending more taxpayer dollars on salary for somebody who’s supposed to be a public servant and who is already rich?

If anything, seeing the budget woes that affected the stae, and with a net worth of millions thanks to his lucrative side projects, Ventura should have donated his $120,000 pittance to the state and set an example we could be proud of.

Ventura’s comment illustrated one last thing: Perhaps the reason he’s so disenfranchised with the media is that he lacks any sophisticated ability to deal with the press. Anybody with any media sense knows not to make dumb comments, at least not in public.