Kudos to El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini for taking the time to not only attend but to also speak at meetings of both the El Dorado County Republican Women Federated and the Democratic Women of El Dorado County over the course of a week recently. While one may have been a little more comfortable than the other, the elected official made the effort to be available for both sides in hopes of explaining his views, whether they seemed controversial or on the button to his many constituents in attendance.
There are many out there who completely disagree with D’Agostini’s stance on several topics. His letter to Vice President Joe Biden was a conversation starter throughout the county, and spearheaded his invites to both functions, where he was applauded in one and debated in the other. A recent My Turn article we printed by Pat Snelling spoke about the petition she presented the sheriff after the Democratic Women gathering. In the column, she said, “I decided to collect signatures for a petition asking the sheriff to: Trace guns confiscated in a crime (he’s doing that now at the state level) … Provide needed information for background checks (he’s doing this also at the state level). D’Agostini said that he didn’t want to work with the feds on this.”
D’Agostini’s stance wasn’t the popular one that night, but he stood by it. Attendees claim he was outdebated by Larry Beutler, Ph.D. in Psychology, and former director of the National Center for the Psychology of Terrorism. That was an expected result as the sheriff was armed with not much more than a a pocket-sized edition of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and his personal opinion. Still, he kept on kicking, countering Buetler’s statistics and studies with statements like, “I trust the CCW person more, because the bad guys don’t apply for them.” The sheriff believed in his fundamental stance that guns aren’t the problem, the people acquiring them illegally are. A statement like, “And for every study the doctor cited there are opposing studies” isn’t going to win a debate, but that wasn’t the sheriff’s purpose for attending.
It’s refreshing to see someone in a position of authority approach the situation with a balanced attack on multiple fronts. While the county is overwhelmingly red, D’Agostini wanted to make it clear that he represents blue, too, even if he’ll often agree to disagree with the blue folks.
Jokingly welcomed into the “lion’s den” at the Democratic Women event, D’Agostini got a big round of applause when he concluded, “This is not a lion’s den. I work for you.” Even Snelling’s column included the line, “I have a lot of respect for the sheriff and his people, but blocking any effort to get guns out of the hands of criminals can only make his job that much more difficult.” Opposition comes from the difference in opinion on his stance, not on what he’s been doing for the county since elected or who he’s been as a public figure.
We’ve been impressed in the several interactions we’ve had with D’Agostini, as he seems to be consistently making an effort to reach out to the community at large, and not just the ones on his side. We hope this continues from the Sheriff’s Office for years to come, and becomes an example to other leaders in how to represent the public.