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LEGISLATOR'S VOTE ON DEATH PENALTY MUST REFLECT VIEWS OF CONSTITUENTS

I feel compelled to respond to the writer of the letter, "Legislators opposing death penalty deserve our applause, not criticism," who objects to criticism of legislators' votes on the death penalty.

In her letter, she states that representatives are elected so that they can thoroughly research the issues and then make educated decisions that are in the best interest of their constituents. I take issue with that.

I think that she has lost sight of the fact that this country was founded on the will of the people and not on what our elected representatives feel is in the best interest of their constituents. Elected representatives are obligated to reflect that will. If we, as voters, allowed an elected representative to vote on issues that reflect his or her personal or statistical views and not the choice of the constituency, this country would be in for some grave problems. I, for one, (and I believe the majority of voters) will not vote for a candidate who does not echo the preference of the constituents he or she proposes to represent.

The writer finds herself in the position of a minority, which for many years the proponents of the death penalty were, but the will of the people will ultimately overshadow her characterization of an elected representative. I appreciate her concern for the cost to the taxpayer, but I believe her suggested alternative to the death penalty -- life imprisonment -- also would be a great burden on the taxpayer and our already overworked court system.

RUSSELL E. BURCH
Buffalo

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