We need to stop all the partisan horse-trading, grandstanding and selfishly-obstructive "earmarking" causing all the toxic back and forth on every single issue before Congress. It stalls and undercuts any hope for practical, incremental improvement in any critical area of national policy and practice. (In fact, this kind of "toxic inaction" by the partisan Congress is a main reason that so many pressing issues affecting our communities now seem to be spinning out of control -- city by city, block by block.
The fact is there are sensible paths forward on key issues that we must address right now such as economic stimulus strategy, health care insurance improvement, immigration overhaul and grassroots infrastructure investment. So Part One of our strategic plan to change Congress is to stay clear of the partisan morass and remain independently committed to making sensible progress now on key issues where there is already common ground in American communities.
I have put together a small sample of just 12 issue initiatives that we will start working on in January 2021 on which independent thinking can make a positive difference. This is the kind of legislation and policy-making that will actually mean something here at the grassroots.
I will actively raise the tone of political and community discussion in Congress and at the grassroots by stopping the cynical manipulation of information that we are subject to from our representatives and the political media, even after the election is completed:
This is the way it should be in public discourse and political representation in American communities: My strategy is to pledge to be a representative who will give all constituents all the data and lay out the various perspectives on key issues in a measured way that respects and hears all reasonable viewpoints. We will address all matters before Congress in constant consultation with each other.
Now let's see if the other candidates in this election will agree to and pledge to adopt these same sorts of standards for public service.
Look at any Republican or Democrat Member's official website (or the tax-funded mailings they send us from time to time) and here's what you will see...for example:
I believe this kind of constituent service is both obscene and counterproductive to our interests as citizens. So once elected, we are going to use our Congressional office budget and direct our staff energies to completely transform how Congress communicates with and serves on behalf of all citizens in the District (regardless of party or perspective):
This is just a sample of the information that will be made available to 4th District constituents on a regularly updated digital platform by our Independent Congressional office.
All 4th District constituents will be able to access and use any information we post on the digital platform free of charge. I will also hold regular in-person information/learning/feedback sessions throughout the district to distribute and discuss this information and get your feedback and suggestions.
Anyone who wants to provide information and perspective on key issues before the House of Representatives will be welcome in our office to provide their view. We will listen carefully. But unlike current practice in the partisan Congress, all meetings we have with "influence peddlers" (that deal with unclassified information) will be shared online with constituents in real time (and available for download afterwards.)
We will also seek and share both sides of every issue we encounter and use any meeting we have to spark progress-oriented dialogue among differing perspectives. So, individuals or organizations who come to us to argue (or lobby) for any defined perspective on legislation before Congress will need to give up at least 30-percent of their appointed time in our office for some rebuttal and frank discussion with a representative of an opposing perspective or stance.
Also relevant, I will never accept campaign support in any form (money or otherwise) from any individuals or organizations with potential business before Congress. Which means anyone.
I will use the $1 million to $2 million "office kitty" that each House Member gets each year through their annual Members Representational Allowance (MRA) budget to produce tangible benefits for the citizens of District while I am in office. (I know it is more than I thought they got too. The top amount budgeted last year was $1.9 million per Member which makes it doubly maddening that this budget is used more these days for Member self-promotion and perpetual re-election purposes than it is for pure constituent service.)
Here is how we will do it differently:
Full or part-time, local or D.C. based, anyone who works with us will be hired based on merit and passion for non-partisan public service to the 4th District. No one will need to have an "in" to join us in serving the 4th District. No special "friend of a friend," insider-contact or specific party label will qualify our staffers: But you will need strong research, listening and communications skills; you will need to be able to put party preferences and ideologies away at the door every day and approach every issue with a steadfast ability to carefully hear all views and consider any potential progress making ideas -- from a diversity of perspectives.
Non-partisan public service to the 4th District as opposed to political gamesmanship will be our staff's driving ambition.
This is not an off the wall proposal to transform government. It is do-able -- this year more than at any point in our lifetimes. This is a real chance to change Congress for good. We can at last set a positive tone for the way we work with each other to build progress, to help our families and neighbors have access to solid opportunities, and to thrive together.
Here is a "golden opportunity" for Central Washington's 4th District to make both lasting and truly national impacts -- and our votes will end up lead every American community from coast-to-coast.
I intend to fight in Congress to reclaim the Constitution's promise of dedicated, grassroots service by our Representatives in the House. I will not let the obstructionists, influence peddlers, "political celebrities," media talking heads, or any of the many negative forces that dominate debate in both parties dissuade me.
I assure you that, as an Independent, I will be given full access to the machinery of the legislative process in the House of Representatives. Article One of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that. In early 2021 we will use this platform to propose changes to the current rules of Congress that now give the un-elected RNC and DNC party chairmen and a small group of self-interested partisan media moguls more power over what actually is getting done in the House than elected representatives and the voters. That is unacceptable.
Together, we will not only transform House rules but also set a new tone for policy development and open communications with voters that will tame the corrupting influence party bosses and dark money now have on our government. This is a sickness in our politics that has badly distorted the business of democracy.
If the party bosses deny us this access to propose these essential reforms to protect their power, we will make it a Constitutional matter and take it to the Courts.
It is also important that we all recognize that I am not alone in this desire for change in Congress: there is clearly a strong desire among patriots in both parties and among the vast and silent throngs of American independents to reform the House and re-calibrate the nasty tone of our politics.
Even smart and decent public servants like our incumbent have their hands tied by this corrupt current system, and are now powerless to change it. So they just go with the flow, and nothing changes.
It's time we brought an end to "the game" and moved forward with the business of democracy.
As an Independent, I will be in a unique position to harness the desire that exists in Central Washington and around the nation for substantive change in Congressional culture and performance. Let's commit in this election to lead reform of Congressional rules and practices in ways that will benefit all Americans, whether they label themselves conservative, moderate, liberal or anything else.