Thoughts on how my time as mayor would differ from how the most of government runs today. This example has nothing to do with an issue at our local level, but is being used as an example of what is currently the norm in politics.
I called my Senators on a very specific issue regarding a Constitutional matter. President Obama recently proposed a unilateral ban on a certain type of ammo, the “green tip” ban. You can read Newsweek’s analysis of the issue here:
I am not directly affected by this issue. I am not a hunter, it’s none of my concern whether you are or aren’t, I just never got into it. I possess no firearms with the capability to use this type of ammo, and don’t plan to obtain any. I called my Senators because there was a letter that was being circulated by Senator Grassley opposing the President’s (I felt unconstitutional) action, and asked, in this example Senator Stabinow’s staff member, what the Senator’s opinion was on this issue, and whether she was going to sign Senator Grassley’s letter. If you’ve ever called a Senator’s office regarding any issue, you will find the answer is always the same: ‘I’m not aware of the Senator’s position on this issue, but I will be happy to pass along your concerns”. At that point, you do express your concerns. No one higher than the office staff answering service will be able to talk further with you about your concerns. They will be very happy, of course, to send you a letter in a few weeks explaining something tangentially related to your issue, after you’ve had time to cool down and forget why you called in the first place. My questions, while not direct quotes, covered these topics:
- Does the Senator support the President’s executive action, with no input from Congress, directing an un-elected agency to restrict a certain type of ammo?
- Does the Senator feel this type of action is in agreement with the basic principles of the Constitution?
- Will the Senator be signing Senator Grassley’s letter (http://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/judiciary/upload/Grassley%20letter%20to%20ATF%20regarding%20M855%20Ammunition.pdf) regarding this issue?
Senator Grassley’s letter, by the way, was signed by 52 Senators, all Republican. If all the facts were identical, but initiated by a Republican President, would some of these 52 not have signed, and would the list be populated by some/many Democrat signatures? Would Senator Stabenow at that point have handled the issue more as a Constitutional matter, and not apparently as a political matter? Could she even have signed this time without receiving vindictive treatment from her party leaders, or even the President? I doubt we’ll ever know. Does anyone these days take a stand on issues because it’s the right thing to do under the framework of the law? There are a few, but they are a decided minority.
Here’s a copy of the Senator’s reply, dated March 18th, received April 4th:
So I called with specific, topical, questions and concerns, and three weeks later received a copy of a boilerplate Second Amendment form letter. This is not how I feel government should run. The fact that I even posted something which many will find controversial shows I am not afraid to indicate what I feel about issues, even if it affects my chances of being elected. I will not be afraid to take stances, even if politically tenuous, if those stances benefit the majority of the people, are cost-effective, and are legally within the framework of the city charter. And if elected, I will communicate the rationale behind why decisions are made.
All this was made to illustrate a point: I feel, logically, the best chance to be heard by the people we elect is at the local level. If elected, I look forward to working with individuals or groups with specific concerns. While I have no experience being a mayor, no one currently in this race does. I am an engineer by profession. Engineers are trained to solve problems, and whether a circuit problem, or a problem concerning a city, the resultant process is much the same. Identify the problem, and work with the team around you to find the most expedient, efficient, and cost-effective solution.