|San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara County, CA
|November 3, 1998 General
Position Statements of My Reform Party Candidacy
By Richard D. "Dick" PorterCandidate for United States Representative; District 22
This information is provided by the candidate
These are my positions on issues which I consider most critical for the future of our nation.POSITION STATEMENTS OF MY REFORM PARTY CANDIDACY
The primary goal of our new Reform Party is to break the hold of the archaic two-party system, to eliminate the excessive influence of special interests, and to return to a truly representative democracy under the Constitution.
The primary purpose of our new Reform Party is to give American citizens an alternative to the status quo in future elections, by providing a vehicle for independent candidates who are committed to reform of the political system.
CHALLENGING THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM
We reject the high level of partisanship that characterizes the two major parties, where members are expected to place party interests above their own principles and above the interests of the people they purport to represent.
We reject those partisan contests that essentially guarantee reelection of incumbents, as well as those that virtually limit the people's choice to the "lesser of two evils." We reject the "seniority system" and all its variations, which concentrate decision-making power in the hands of a few individuals, and effectively diminish the power of the vast majority of elected legislative representatives as they seek to represent their constituencies.
We view with alarm the "special interest domination" of the two major parties, where both have become dependent on massive campaign contributions, and where the "seniority power" of their members is obtained and maintained only by pandering to major contributors.
We further reject the "winner-take-all" organization of the Congress and of state legislatures, where a very small difference in party membership results in total control of all leadership positions and committees by one party, resulting in a constant need to acquire partisan advantage, and requiring maintenance of "party discipline," which further diminishes the ability of independent minded legislators to find rational solutions to the nation's problems.
The Reform Party will seek to insure that each of the 535 members in the House and Senate has the unbridled power to represent the interests of his or her voting constituency without constraints imposed by "seniority," "leadership," "party loyalty," or "party discipline." We reject current practice, which leaves the vast majority of our Constitutional representatives utterly dependent on the largess of partisan senior leadership as they seek to represent the people who elected them.
We believe that the nation is best served by elected representatives who truly represent the interests of their voting constituencies rather than the decisions of senior partisan leadership, or the pressures of special interest lobbies. We are confident that a Congress elected by the people, without a focus on highly charged partisan issues, will best be able to deal with the critical problems confronting our country today and in the future.
We contend that partisan control of Congress over the years has adversely effected the common good, and that the failure of that institution to respond to the critical problems facing our nation has been devastating.
At the heart of congressional decision-making are the rules adopted by the House and Senate. It is by virtue of their rules that these bodies perpetuate the two-party system, seniority leadership, and winner-take-all partisan control of government, and it is under these rules that important legislation is blocked, where questionable legislation finds its way into law, and where special interest manipulation is most effective. We expect to support comprehensive revision of House and Senate rules in order better to serve the national interest and the needs of the people of the United States.
We see the existing two-party system as the root cause of our national distress, the source of partisan gridlock, and the basis of our economic adversity. We find that special interests thrive in the highly partisan atmosphere surrounding legislative development. And we see the power of special interests growing at an astonishing rate as they assist both of the major parties in driving up the costs of political campaigns.
We recognize that most of the critical issues confronting our nation today are only symptoms of the pestilence that has infected our democratic institutions, and that the underlying cause of our chronic disease is the malignancy of the two-party system as it has evolved in the latter half of the twentieth century. The common thrust of our 1998 and 2000 campaigns for both national and state candidates will be to attack the cancer of the two-party system.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE, BRIBERY, AND CONFLICT of INTEREST
The Reform Party seeks a return to our Constitutional form of government, where elected representatives make decisions based upon the interests of the people in the constituency they have been elected to represent.
The inordinate influence exercised by special interests through their "bought and paid for" legislators is nothing less than a national disgrace.
Campaign contributions made to Members of Congress (and to state legislators across the nation) by agencies with special interests in legislative issues are nothing less than BRIBES that compromise the people's business.
Acceptance of such payoffs by the people's elected representatives is an outrageous CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
Comprehensive campaign finance reform, including severe limitations on contributions from special interests, is essential.
Incumbents of both major parties are fully culpable for repeated actions, and failures to act, where special interests have thrived while the people's interests have been ignored, and huge costs have been shifted to current and to future taxpayers.
The costs of the savings and loan bailout, for example, will continue to burden American taxpayers for many generations, as will the costs of pandering to multinational corporations, as in the actions on GATT, NAFTA, and the recent Mexican bailout. Moreover, legislative pandering to insurance companies, medical lobbies, and other special interests is likely to frustrate most viable approaches to health care reform as the debate continues.
Congressional response to special interests has also resulted in vast federal bureaucracies that provide little of value to the nation or to the people, impose exorbitant cost burdens on the taxpayers, constrain free enterprise, and inhibit individual freedoms.
The future of our nation is at stake. The current system has become a playground for special interests. Clearly, the two-party system has a vested interest in the status quo. The people, however, are ready for serious political reform. An alternative to the corrupt two-party system is essential to insure the maintenance of our standard of living and the continuing development of American society under our Constitution.
CITIZEN LEGISLATORS, TERM LIMITS, AND SENIORITY
The Reform Party strongly supports term limits for elected officials at all levels of government. While the media focus most attention on national offices, some of the most blatant abuses of unlimited incumbency can be found at local and state levels.
The problem of unlimited incumbency is that career politicians, instead of true representatives of the people, make critical legislative and regulatory decisions. They largely support the status quo, and generally resist rational change.
But most importantly, career politicians have developed self-serving systems which allocate major decision-making power to themselves based on longevity rather than competence, and effectively deny recently elected officials the right to fully represent the interests of their constituencies.
Moreover, special interest lobbyists and pressure groups, by long association with these senior incumbents, and by regular and generous contributions to their ongoing reelection campaigns, are able to exercise substantial, if not overwhelming, influence on governmental laws and regulations.
The single alternative to term limits is the election of enough new citizen legislators to enact laws and adopt rules that will eliminate all provisions, understandings, and practices which provide any kind of extraordinary decision-making power or privilege based on seniority.
THE NATION'S FISCAL CRISIS
Over the past twenty years, the fiscally irresponsible behavior of congressional leaders of both major parties has left us with a national debt that has reached devastating proportions. This legacy of the two-party system clearly threatens to destroy the future of our children and grandchildren. The massive dimensions of this obligation are almost incomprehensible.
Both parties, and both the Congress and the Executive, bear direct responsibility for this disaster. Yet they continue to avoid and obscure the precarious implications of this monstrous debt by addressing only the matter of reducing an also disgraceful annual deficit. We must keep in mind that "reducing the deficit" simply means that they expect only to lessen the amount they add each year to that debt. Each party continues to seek political advantage, one by maintaining exorbitant levels of spending, and the other by providing cosmetic spending cuts, while both talk of lowering taxes, as fiscal disaster looms larger and more ominous for the next generation.
The Reform Party strongly agrees with and supports the conclusions of the non-partisan Concord Coalition and the recommendations of their "Zero Deficit Plan," which calls for Congress and the Executive to begin immediately to make the hard choices necessary to bring the federal budget into balance as a first step in addressing our monumental and rapidly increasing national debt. The Reform Party sees the "Balanced Budget Amendment" as nothing more than a "fig leaf" developed and used by irresponsible incumbent politicians to cover their failure to make the hard choices needed to deal with the nation's fiscal crisis. There is no need to mess with our Constitution. What is needed is a new kind of Congress that recognizes its responsibility to future generations. And a new generation of politicians who place the future of their nation above their political future.
FREE ENTERPRISE, JOBS, GATT, NAFTA, AND AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY
The Reform Party believes in, and vigorously supports the free enterprise system as a foundation of American society. Continued advancement of our standard of living and quality of life is largely dependent on the jobs that American business and industry develop and maintain for our citizens. Maintenance of comprehensive production capabilities in both heavy and light industry (in addition to technological and service industries) is essential to our national security.
We view with alarm those multinational corporations and banking institutions which masquerade as American businesses, enjoying the privileges of our free enterprise system, while draining our economy rather than contributing to the national tax base, and moving production, employment, and financial resources out of the country to benefit international special interests. We abhor the influence that these multinational and other foreign interests exercise on our government. Law firms which represent foreign interests should be registered as foreign agents.
The Reform Party calls for immediate reconsideration of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and for the enactment of new laws which distinguish between nationally responsible businesses and industries, which contribute to the job base and a growing economy, and those self-serving multinational institutions, which assume no responsibility for the future of our nation, and in effect compromise our nation's sovereignty with no accountability to the people of the United States.
The Reform Party finds outrageous those Congressional practices which result in the writing of complex legislation which obscures the intent of the people's representatives, which contains an inordinate volume of written text, and which is written in language requiring legal scholars to interpret.
The Reform Party will support changes in the legislative process to insure that all legislation will incorporate a clear and unequivocal declaration of the intent of Congress.
It is neither necessary, nor desirable, nor appropriate for the Congress to write into law specific exceptions, provisions, or other details to accommodate special interests.
Moreover, complex details of implementation have no place in well-crafted legislation. A clear declaration of intent should give clear direction for implementation by the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch must be held fully accountable for development of appropriate rules and regulations to carry out the intent of the legislation. The declaration of intent must provide an unequivocal basis both for congressional oversight and for Court review in the event of any legal question or challenge.
We further condemn "PORK BARREL" measures which serve only the parochial interests of individual legislators, and other special interests, and which are used by Congressional and Executive leadership to buy the votes of reluctant members of Congress.
The conference committee process has been abused and corrupted by senior congressional leadership. We find reprehensible those conference committee reports that contain items not directly germane to matters incorporated in the original bills processed through the House and Senate.
CANDIDATES AND THE BROADCAST MEDIA
Our Reform Party appreciates the importance of television and radio in the development of an informed electorate. We believe that those who enjoy the valuable privileges which government broadcast licensees provide have a special responsibility to serve the public interest. We contend that all licensees, while remaining free of government interference in their program content, should be expected to provide for their respective communities some measure of reasonably unbiased coverage of candidates seeking to represent voters within that community, including but not limited to candidate debates.
We reject the use of political "spot" commercials. Not only do these degrade our political institutions, but also these brief "spots" (of 1 minute or less duration) have characteristically been used to confuse, incite, and manipulate, rather than to inform the electorate. We urge responsible broadcasters to refuse the sale of political commercials, and ask all responsible candidates for public office to reject their use.
We will support efforts in the Congress to formulate ethical standards, which reject the use of irresponsible political advertisements in the media. Any political advertisement or promotion using the broadcast media, whether purchased by the candidate, or provided by the broadcaster, should directly involve the candidate in the presentation, and be of at least five minutes duration. The primary objective should be to present the candidate and the candidate's views regarding the office sought and the community served.
The Reform Party strongly supports a comprehensive reform of taxation in the United States, especially including simplification of the income tax, elimination of all special interest provisions, and elimination of all deductions except basic family allowances and limited deductions for primary home mortgages and charity. We will continue to study and analyze all reasonable proposals for revising our tax system before advocating any specific alternatives to the income tax.
|| Feedback to Candidate
|| This Race
November 1998 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter