Saturday, March 4, 2006

"This Assembly Needs Cleaning": Why We Need Lobbyist/Campaign Finance Reform NOW

In 1923, after Viola Ross Napier of Macon became the first women to serve in the Georgia General Assembly, she reportedly said, "I hate to say the Assembly needs cleaning, but I see no way getting around it." She might've been talking about the dirt in the corners, but in every sense, her statement is timeless and never more true than today.

With the lack of progress on insurance reform, the ruse that the Governor engaged in with the 65% bill and the revelations regarding the $20,000 donation to Richardson's slush fund, never has there been a greater need to clean house. We can do that in a couple of ways. If we want reform, then the people of Georgia have to be willing to stand up and take OUR Assembly back.

We need some new leaders, and we need leaders who will back legislation that will prohibit or severely limit all gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. I'm talking about "cup of coffee" limits on gifts. No tickets. No dinners. No alcohol. We need to level the playing field so that the average Georgian is just as likely to get their representative's attention as those who come bearing gifts. Show me the candidate who is willing to support real reform on this issue, and I'll show you someone who may just be able to stand up for the voters: they won't be bent over kissing the rear-end of some cash-bearing lobbyist.

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