For the money we taxpayers are paying out each year here in the 1st Congressional District [NH CD 1] to support Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and her Congressional office operations -- nearly $2 million dollars -- taxpayers deserve much higher returns in the way of service than they are getting. For what they mainly receive are self-congratulatory newsletters and/or infrequent “townhall” meetings that amount to electioneering at taxpayers’ expense. NH CD 1 needs a higher level of service to constituents. What kinds of services do constituents most need, and what sort of program would provide them?
A 10 Pt. PROGRAM for serving the citizens of NH CD 1 better would include:
1. INFORMATION: More and better information to better inform people on the issues of their most heartfelt concerns -- information that folks can really use. For “knowledge is power.” E.G. “Insider” knowledge provided by Congressional Committee reports, Government Accounting Office (GAO) and other research on issues, plus performance accountability measures through which voters can hold their Representative truly accountable. Do you know how your Congress-woman spends her time and your money? No. You should, but the numbers are difficult to find and she doesn’t report them.
2. MEETINGS: Not only Townhall-type meetings, but Issue Forums, Teach-ins, De-bates & Issue Committees. For a better model of townhall meetings, see www.peterbearseforcongress2010.com. It’s not enough to just listen. Voters need to be better informed for their voices to be more influential in Washington.
3. ASSISTANCE: Two more constituent service centers are needed in the Northern part of the District. These should be engaged in constant, active outreach to identify needs for help -- not wait for people to come in the doors.
4. CITIZENS’ COMMITTEES: To advise the Member of Congress on issues such as health care, economic issues, criminal justice, global warming & climate change, and immigration.
5. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: To reform the “reform” which has failed. To credit the value of people’s time over big money. Up with people.
6. MOBILIZATION: To help citizens organize, mount demonstrations, make calls and do e-mailing. To help build and revitalize local party committees. Michelle Bachman: Move Over!
7. INTERVENTION: With other Congressmen via targeted constituent communications, especially to members of Congressional committees.
8. TAPPING CONSTITUENTS’ KNOWLEDGE & WISDOM: By way of Citizens’ Committees and systematic application of social networking and collaboration software. Any sizable set of voters comprising a cross section of the great American majority contains at least as much knowledge and common sense as the House of Representatives. Only by relying on people’s knowledge and common sense can we negate the influence of lobbyists, who get their feet in Members’ office doors by claiming they can provide valuable information.
9. REPRESENTATION: A Rep. should vote on the issues in Congress as majorities of his constituents would like him to, not vote his personal opinions.
10.LEADERSHIP: On issues of the economy, entrepreneurship & innovation where this aspiring Member’s background and experience can truly help lead the way. More generally: Leadership a la the Reagan legacy -- to fight to move power and money out of Washington right down to the local level where people can make a difference and see the difference they make!
This amounts to a program to empower constituents so that they are better prepared to “take back” what should be theirs -- their politics and their government from those who have taken them over -- the political careerists, pro’s, consultants, lobbyists, big money and big media. The thrust also amounts to a reversal of focus for a Congressman -- from a Washington bloated by power and money to a down-home District full of real people in real places with real problems.
Any candidate who does not supply a strategy and a program to accomplish the above goals -- to empower people and reverse focus from D.C. to down home -- is not worthy of voters’ support.
PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., International Consulting Economist and Independent-Conservative Reagan Republican Candidate for Congress in NH CD 1