Sunday, October 5, 2008

Keeping Close to the People

When I sought election for office, a key component of my platform was centered around an issue about which I feel strongly. In my view, the events of the past few weeks have certainly reinforced the importance of what I believe to be an important principle.

As conceived by the founding fathers, the United States House of Representatives was to reflect the sentiment and values of the people, and its members were to be directly elected by the people every two years.

When the founding fathers of Oklahoma designed our State Constitution, they ensured this same principle would be reflected in state government by requiring that Oklahoma State Representatives also stand for re-election every two years.

I have observed firsthand how this makes the House much more responsive to the needs and concerns of the people they represent. For instance, in 2007 the House served as the catalyst for immigration reform even though it was opposed by the big money special interest group. Immigration reform was one of the rare high profile successful bills that was not driven by special interest money, but by the demands of the people. Representatives who knew they would soon be up for re-election were much more likely to take this sentiment into consideration than the Senators who are only up for re-election every four years.

Over the past few months, I have been honored to go door to door, visiting hundreds of homes of the people I represent. This experience provides a fascinating ground level point of view as I get to hear firsthand how people feel about the issues. The experience has also given me a forum through which I can relate my observations of what is occurring in government, and how I am applying my principles and beliefs to my job as State Representative. In addition, the people give me valuable feedback about how the new laws that I am voting for or against are impacting their lives.

I believe this is exactly how our founding fathers envisioned representative government would work. And this is why I believe the House of Representatives is one of the most exciting places in which a person can serve.

Certainly one of the most relevant issues the people talk to me most passionately about is their opposition to the recent actions of the federal government in approving the pork-filled bailout bill. I feel that one of the reasons the United States House of Representatives initially opposed the bailout was because they know the people oppose it and many of them are up for re-election in just a few weeks.

When I campaigned for office, I made it clear that I opposed the effort to expand the terms of State Representatives. I have much respect for the wisdom of our founding fathers and am dedicated to preserving the important principle that Representatives should be up for review by the people every two years.

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