THE BLOG

Putting Our Community First

08/29/2011 02:14 pm ET | Updated Oct 29, 2011

Today, a record 82% of Americans disapprove of the Republican-led Congress and its performance. Fundamentally, Congress is out of touch with the concerns of Americans; indeed, it acts in ways contrary to their needs and wishes. For example, Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh voted for the government defaulting on its bills and, earlier in the year, voted for a government shutdown even though the vast majority of his constituents favored the opposite. Plunging our country into a needless economic crisis, the congressman said he was carrying out the mandate of the Tea Party, even though our community wanted him to do the opposite. The congressman's approach is plain wrong.

If I am elected to Congress, I will put the interests of our community first, and I will actively seek input and respond to it. I currently raise my family in the 8th District, my children attend schools here, and we have family here. Therefore, I know how important it is that our community have a voice in Washington. In my roles as Deputy State Treasurer and Special Assistant Attorney General, I strove to make government more responsive, transparent, efficient, and proactive. Through advances in technology, I believe our Congressional office can continue to follow these principles:

● Responsiveness: I want to know what issues are important to the voters of the 8th district, and where the voters stand on the issues that matter. Town hall meetings will help me when I am in the district; however, I also want to know where constituents stand on the issues even when I'm in DC. We will actively welcome input through phone calls, emails, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, not only will constituents be able to attend traditional town halls and in-person meetings, I will also offer constituents the option to set up Skype appointments when I am in DC. What's more, in this campaign, we have developed a prototype smartphone "app" to give a flavor for how my office would connect with voters. For instance:
○ It will have clear, non-biased summaries of legislation before the House and a feature for constituents to let me know how they think I should vote on a bill, and provide their own comments on the legislation.
○ While I cannot promise that I will cast every vote in line with the majority of those who suggested a vote through the app, their input will be the first thing I consider when I must decide how to vote on a bill.

● Transparency: Whether constituents seek information on office travel, staff salaries, past votes on legislation, or my public schedule in the 8th District, my office will make this information readily available to any constituent with access to my website or mobile app.
○ No longer will voters need to look through cumbersome databases provided by diverse non-profits and government agencies.
○ Voters should know what their representative is doing, what votes he casts, and who he pays, so my office will make this data readily available in a way which is easy to understand.

● Efficiency: Dealing with your congressman should not be a hassle, and it should not take a long time for the office to respond to basic requests.
○ All constituent communication will be responded to within 48 hours of being received.
○ Whatever we can put online and make paperless, we will. By putting as many services as possible online, we will reduce paperwork and make the office more organized.

● Proactive: While my office will respond to voter requests, we will also attempt to address voters' needs proactively.
○ We will conduct job fairs, seminars to help local business people interact with the government, and resource fairs for students, veterans, and seniors eligible for government benefits.
○ We will have open houses and office hours to make myself and my staff available so constituents can access resources in our office and learn how they can help shape the debate in Washington.