The American electorate in our state and elsewhere in the nation has been clamoring for bipartisanship. That request has been greeted with promises, promises and little else.
There is no great mystery to the causes for this lack of bipartisanship. The two major parties have been drifting farther and farther apart on the political spectrum, tending more and more to represent the extremist views of the electorate that stand in the way of compromise.
Independent voters are estimated to be in excess of forty percent of the electorate in Washington state. It is this group of voters who have the potential to lead the nation by electing independent candidates to public office. In essence it requires only a small number of independent representatives to end the domination of Congress by a single faction. Our U.S. Constitution was written specifically with that goal as the core of a new concept of national government. The framers of our Constitution, in presenting their work for ratification by the individual States, referred to this new creation as representative government.
To achieve the goals set out in our Constitution and restore the vital checks and balances provided by that historic document, it has been my privilege to proceed with two complementary actions:
The formation of a Political Action Committee called Association of Independent Candidates to enable the electorate of our state to fund the campaign of independent candidates. The website is Indiepac.org. AIC-PAC has been registered with the Public Disclosure Commission in Olympia.
I am honored to offer my representation for each resident of the district regardless of where that persons views are located on the political spectrum. My candidacy is not conflicted with the interests of a political party.
To engage in meaningful debate during this 2014 election campaign and thereby offer the electorate some clarification of what to anticipate, a brief summation follows:
The Affordable Care Act is the crown jewel of President Obama's administration. No effort has been spared to prop up the claims made during the process to gain passage of this legislation. To capture the support of the insurance industry or at least avoid a serious effort to prevent its becoming law, the mandatory requirement for health insurance for all Americans was included. This provision was challenged and by a five-to-four split was deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court. The mandatory requirement for insurance was considered to be a tax on the public that is within the right of Congress to impose. Dissenting justices see this mandatory requirement as an obvious violation of the commerce clause in our Constitution that prohibits Congress from forcing a commercial purchase on the American public.
Our loss of the freedom to make our own choices relative to providing our health care needs and to pay out of pocket if we so choose sets a dangerous precedent. The freedoms we enjoy under the protection of the U.S. Constitution are precious to all Americans and therefore need to be the subject of serious debate in our legislature and not just subject to the whim of a political party that happens to dominate both houses of Congress.
Mark Twain once remarked that: "Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it." That same conclusion could be applied to the size of our federal workforce. With the nation in recovery from a deep recession, the political heat to reduce unemployment is enormous. Coupled with that, the cost of retired government workers falls to subsequent administrations, for those who were recently hired. In addition, the civil service procedures that date back to the Polk administration have not kept pace with private industry. With a $17 trillion national debt, the tax receipts are heavily impacted by interest on the debt and the retirement costs for workers who have completed their government service.
The appetite of the federal government to assume responsibility for services to the public that have previously been the function of state legislatures is a subject that needs close attention. Both major political parties have contributed to the bloated size of the federal bureaucracy and appear to be willing to sweep this issue under the rug and divert public attention to other matters.
Independent legislators who are not conflicted with the interests of a political party are the most likely to face this challenge squarely.
Centralized control of the U.S. economy in the nation's capital is not what our country needs at this juncture. The demise of the Soviet Union with its monolithic control of the Russian economy should give us pause from walking along that path.
The time is now for examining the question of returning to the individual states the functions that have been usurped by our federal government.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Richard Todd, I., is a candidate for U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional District. The top two vote getters in the primary will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The 1st District includes nearly all of Whatcom County outside Bellingham, plus portions of King, Snohomish and Skagit counties.