Iowans and Americans need more objective, issues-focused representation in the Senate now!
I will work tirelessly to find the common ground and take action on priorities identified by the majority of Iowans and Americans- not just the loudest few extremists.
We need to hold ALL of our legislators and public office holders to high common standards- regardless of party affiliation. We should be advocating for no double-standards regarding ethics and transparency. Well-defined barriers to conflicts of interest must be more clearly established without exception. Those of us who offer ourselves as public servants must be truly mindful of the awesome responsibility for others that we have assumed, and be prepared to accept the sacrifices such an honor entails. The incredible impact we potentially have on the lives of so many is far too frequently forgotten. As your non-partisan representative, ALL my focus and energy for the term (or two terms) I serve will be YOU – my constituents and fellow Americans. Nothing will be frittered away on personal conflicts of interests or party loyalties.
Senators need to make best efforts to represent ALL the constituents of Iowa- not just those who endorse the same opinions or beliefs. Religious and corporate interest groups have invaded the political process and have far too frequently been extended a party welcome-mat, only to parade over the best interests of the general public. The loudest (or most well-funded) positions are increasingly promoted and legislatively imposed upon us against the will of majority. This only leads to a lack of faith in our political system and civil unrest. Fostering division and stagnation in order to maintain a position of political influence with this winner-take-all mentality will eventually lead to the demise of those who indulge in these tactics- but not until the majority of us suffer from missed opportunities and unjust limitations.
For instance, my healthcare reform proposals (see Healthcare Reform), recognize that the answers to effective and efficient health care and health insurance markets lie in between political extremes. The long-outdated and inefficient employer-provided health insurance model in the U.S. should have ended long ago, and made way for robust individual, transparent, and competitive healthcare services and insurance markets that are adequately regulated in the best interest of consumers.
It is time to finally stand up to the corporate lobby groups which have been all too involved in crafting our healthcare reform legislation, and overcome the political party inertia that keeps us from ending this broken market model that is a detriment to consumers, businesses, and our economy. This process involves acknowledging both the benefits and the failures of the Affordable Care Act- and embracing a healthier, judiciously-regulated free-market model. I believe private insurers (and other healthcare “middle-men” – like pharmacy benefit managers) will agree to play by the rules in a simpler, more transparent, competitive market- now that this convoluted, complex system is being revealed as unsustainable. These corporate entities have less incentive to struggle against reform now that public sentiment threatens their existence.
Correcting market failures looks far more attractive than an increasing government takeover. Today there are more just and sensible free market solutions that both democrats and republicans can embrace in a middle-ground effort to move the country forward. I will propose and promote immediately actionable legislation that will positively impact Iowans and Americans in the first year or two of my term of public service. I can achieve this because of the genuine bi-partisan (and more-importantly; in-the-best-interest-of-the-majority) rationale that will underpin my legislative proposals.
A Senator’s public statements should foster fact-finding, objective assessments, and collaboration.
We need to be receptive to expert information and objectively examine each and every issue that impacts Iowans and Americans – WITHOUT the detrimental impact of party-peer-pressure. As often as practically possible- I plan to have my team disclose reference sources for information considered integral research for any major legislation. I will invite constituents to offer similarly topical information from reliable, objective, clearly-identified resources. Partisan-style politics promotes extreme, simplistic hyperbole and prevents thoughtful analysis of complex issues. This dysfunctional style of communication leads to an inability to acknowledge mistakes and a failure to carefully consider alternative views. No political party rants should be allowed to drown out the voices of the constituents for whom we have taken the oath of office to represent.
The integrity and function of our government should be held more sacred than any party platform.
(Example) Senator Grassley must sincerely regret the negative precedent set when Judge Merrick Garland was prevented from experiencing a well-deserved confirmation hearing for more than a year- leaving our supreme court less functional during that time. Members from both parties have acknowledged that Obama selected this nominee recognizing that Garland was generally well-respected by BOTH Democrats and Republicans and likely would have encountered little confirmation resistance (had confirmation hearings been allowed to justly proceed). This unprecedented, unreasonable delay and the failure of Republicans to acknowledge the thoughtful nomination of a well-recognized, moderate candidate, diminished the general public’s belief in the objectivity of our justice system and the sanctity of the Supreme Court. We all pay the price today with each subsequent nomination- now that a more profound lack of civility was introduced into to the process, along with the disturbing perception of a diminished effort to find a candidate least objectionable to the majority of Americans.
We must restore respect for an objective judicial confirmation process and not allow any single entity or private-interest group (currently- like the Federalist Society) to continue to have the most influence on judicial appointments.
There is a difference between seeking ways to make government more just and efficient, and harboring a disdain for government in general. To work in government, we must uphold the ideal of its practical necessity- recognizing what an amazingly positive and powerful force it can be to improve opportunities, and promote justice and quality of life. Recklessly dismantling public policies, government agencies and institutions that have served so many so well- an act which is often irrationally justified by identifying such policies or legislative origins with the other party, can no longer be condoned. None of us welcome wasteful government spending and much of it still needs to be addressed. But failing to recognize the true value of the parts of government that work well, and protect the best interests of the general public- is incredibly costly to us all. We can promote the parts of government that (when objectively observed) give us the most beneficial “bang for our buck” and minimize waste. We should be able to acknowledge where legislation falls short of addressing targeted issues, and identify unintended consequences so improvements can be made without back-tracking.
Suzanne’s Idea of More Functional Government
Senators … as other public office holders, need to keep in mind what “public service” means. Our obligation should be to consider ALL Iowans and Americans- including those who do not benefit from, or are represented by, corporate or religious organizations, or any particular political party. A senator’s duty is to advocate in the best interest of all constituents- not just the select few who share their personal experiences or views.
Government in its best sense offers fairness and efficiency. Primary government responsibilities include maintaining fair playing fields for both businesses and consumers- ones that offers economic opportunities to as many individuals as possible. The legislative proposals that I will offer and support, will be mindful of these principles. These days, there is so much great access to public information and so much past experience to learn from, that we can develop legislative policies that balance governmental responsibilities with private economic incentives to provide and protect public goods like healthcare, infrastructure, and the environment in practical, effective ways.
I will offer and promote proposals that increase government transparency and simplify the legislative process to untangle and eliminate numerous, unrelated objectives within single pieces of legislation. Not only do we have to work harder to eliminate pork-barrel legislation, but we have to conduct a legislative process offers clarity and an opportunity for understanding and feedback from the American people.
Running for office requires transparency. Those who do not want their finances or behavior examined for ethics and legality should not run for office. I will take every opportunity to support legislation that requires accountability from all public office holders as transparency is essential to a functional democracy.
It seems the interpretation of senatorial duty for some, is to impose their personal perspectives- however narrow-minded, upon their constituents. As senator, my obligation will be to offer factual information to the constituents I serve, as well as to seek a true understanding of the impact that legislative polices have had, or will have, on their lives. With your input I will more accurately determine what is truly in the best interest of Iowans.
The government shutdown was needlessly reckless. We are still experiencing the resulting negative economic impact months later. The Congressional Budget Office’s estimation of $11 billion down the drain cannot possibly take into account for all the opportunity costs to Americans due to the lack of ongoing essential government services during that time. The power of the purse has traditionally been the responsibility of the legislative branch. Once a bipartisan solution had been reached last December, a responsible Senate would have over-rode the president’s misguided veto- regardless of party affiliations. That is how our system of checks and balances should have worked. Functional oversight should have been in force from the beginning of the Trump administration in order to hold our president to higher ethical standards. Such a new and blatant disregard for transparency and conflicts of interest, concerns for America’s relationships with our allies and a perplexing pandering to regimes that act contrary to our values should have been dealt with on a bipartisan basis. I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans want this. Both Republicans and Democrats have been speaking out against misguided and unethical policies associated with the Trump administration, but low standards for the highest office in the country have been allowed to prevail without checks and balances. We have all been hurt by this- regardless of party affiliation. Now is your chance to send me to the U.S. Senate as your voice of reason to demand higher ethical standards for all who have been granted the public’s trust in any office.
The Herzog Commitment for Potential Government Shut-downs: Any time the federal government is shut down long enough for government workers to miss a payroll cycle, I will establish a relief fund for affected government workers and contractors – personally initiating funding with the equivalent of 30% my federal compensation for that year. I will invite other members of the Senate to do the same or contribute what they can. As your Senator I will not neglect my duty to public service and I accept that senators should not be immune to such costly, preventable government dysfunction.
In 2008 I spent the summer in Washington D.C. on scholarship (a program offered by a collaboration with the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the University of Maryland). As I worked with federal government data and attended class at U of M, I was also introduced to several of the major U.S. government statistical agencies (on-site visits to: Bureaus of Economic Analysis, Justice Statistics, Labor, and Census, the Energy Information Administration, National Centers for Health and Education statistics…). It is important that we as tax-payers are aware of how we fund an amazing amount of important data to keep the general public, institutions and industries informed. There is truly a sense of pride and public duty among these government employees to provide accurate, objective information. Consider getting a better sense of any public issue with information from any one of many trusted sources.
I really love our nation’s capital. I first explored Washington D.C. with my son during his high school senior spring break. He was thrilled to have been accepted at George Washington University- his first choice. We exhausted ourselves in 3 days, wrapping up the campus tour quickly so that we could move on to taking in our national treasures. What a great sense of vast community and purpose we experienced- mingling with people from every walk of life on the metro, and covering as much of the National Mall grounds as we could.
This was the beginning of more amazing life experiences for both of us. He embraced his education, his community, and his work there while I was frequently drawn back for extended stays. I had great opportunities to experience federal government engagement by participating in a summer internship or briefly lobbying for a non-profit. Attending a health information management conference would end up being just another opportunity to enjoy D.C. with my son. After living there for more than a decade, he moved to Chicago, but I still feel almost as connected to our nation’s capital as I do to Iowa. It has been heartbreaking to observe it being diminished by yet another election not supported by popular vote, and the turmoil that ensued, with increasing threats to functional government in the form diminishing dignity and accountability. I believe we as Iowans are the solution. We are known for being there for each when times get tough. I believe we are independent thinkers with a knack for civility and respect for our neighbors. I am prepared to honorably represent you in the U.S. Senate with a collaborative, inclusive, non-partisan voice. On Capitol Hill we can exemplify what respectful, intelligent, collaborative legislation is- guiding the nation in a way Iowans can truly be proud of.