The news media has plenty to say about how much money certain candidates are raising right now in the Tennessee Senate race, but why not focus on some of the ideas put forth last year by Rosalind Kurita?
Her (is that the problem, the candidate is female?) plan included these ideas:
-- End the revolving door. Once you serve in Congress, you shouldn’t be allowed to leave and become a lobbyist. No more 'cooling off' period, end the practice of Members of Congress using their public service for private gain.
-- Make Congressional districts fair. 98% of Members of Congress win re-election. We need and independent commission to guide the redistricting process so average citizens have a fair shot at winning a seat in the government.
-- Report "grassroots" lobbying. Currently, a loophole in the law allows so-called "grassroots" lobbying expenses to go unreported. Untold millions are spent influencing legislation and the public never knows about it. Reporting of grassroots lobbying expenses should be required.
-- Report lobbying more frequently. Current law only requires reports every six months. Lobbyists ought to report their expenses quarterly, and the reports should be more detailed. It should be easy for the public to find out what Member of Congress was lobbied, what legislation was discussed, and how much was spent.
-- End Lobbyist Funded Trips for Lawmakers. Millions of dollars are spent each year by lobbyists to give lawmakers free vacations. Under the guise of "issue-education," lawmakers take extravagant trips paid for by special interests.
-- Real penalties for breaking the law. Lobbyists regularly file late or inaccurate reports and little is done under the current system. Lobbying disclosure deadlines should be enforced and stiff penalties should be imposed for breaking the law.
"It’s time for real reform," Kurita said. "We deserve a federal government we can trust. Special interests won’t like these reforms, but I don’t work for them. My job is to fight for what’s best for the people of Tennessee. When it comes to ethics, my experiences as a nurse will serve me well. We need more Senators who have spent time taking care of patients, not just taking care of special interests."
As of 2006, her voice and her ideas seem to be ignored.