Our failure to competently handle the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t a political opportunity, it is a clarion call to all of us to repair the foundations of our democracy.
Many people say the divisiveness in Congress simply reflects the mood of the country. I strongly disagree. What many in Congress are doing is exacerbating and leveraging divisiveness to further their own ambitions.
On the campaign trail, I talk about reversing this and getting Congress back to work addressing the issues we face. Of course, I’m asked – “How are you going to do that?” It won’t be easy, but I do have a plan.
First, I’ll hold in-person, public town hall meetings to communicate with all constituents. Every August recess I will hold town halls in McLennan, Travis, Brazos, and 1 other county. I will also hold a town hall meeting in one of the other counties each calendar quarter – a minimum of 7 town hall meetings every year. The first town hall I hold in 2021 will be in the county that voted most strongly against me.
Second, I will seek out Republican colleagues and invite them to our town hall meetings, and I will attend town halls in their districts, to spread the cross-partisan communication beyond our district.
Finally, we have to tackle some of the structural problems that have contributed to our current situation through legislative action. I support H.R. 1 – the For the People Act of 2019 which would
- Expand voter registration and access
- Improve election security
- Establish an alternative campaign funding system the included federal matching of small contributions
- Tightens ethics standards for all three branches of government
- Reduce or eliminate gerrymandering (most important, in my opinion) by requiring states to establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions.
I know that it will take a lot more than these first steps to ease our current polarization. But if we don’t start this long journey with a few small steps now, we’ll never get there.