Let’s face it. A lot of the time, the House of Representatives isn’t very representative of this great country.
I know you deserve better and I’m working to do something about it.
After two decades in the private sector, I ran for office two years ago to do my part to fix Congress. We have big issues to tackle, but we aren’t going to solve any problems – like a middle class jobs crunch, rising deficits, or non-competitive industries – by demonizing half the country.
In my view, there are two facets to reforming Washington: changing the culture and changing the structure. Changing the culture means actually listening to the other side, meeting with colleagues in the other party, and trying to build bridges. I’ve met with over 100 Republicans one-on-one to try to find common ground. I can’t tell you how many of them told me they’d never had a Democrat come into their office before. That process led to my infrastructure jobs bill becoming the most bipartisan economic legislation in Congress. In reality, there is common ground, if you make the effort.
Focusing on civility and cooperation is important, but we also need to change the structure that creates so many problems. I’ve filed legislation to do just that: make our elections more representative and help more people vote.
The Open Our Democracy Act (H.R. 5334) does three key things to improve our electoral process.
- First, it mandates open primaries for elections to the House of Representatives. Right now, proving you are the most extreme partisan is a path to election in hundreds of congressional districts. This incentivizes no compromise behavior that leads to gridlock, bickering, and shutdowns. Too often, independent voters don’t have a full voice in our elections.
- Second, my bill begins the process of redistricting reform, directing the Government Accountability Office to report on national standards for how to draw district lines. We can’t have a functioning House of Representatives when the districts that elect the members don’t represent the country accurately. Less gerrymandering means community interests are better represented and we have less one-party safe districts that tend to produce party-focused elected officials.
- Third, the Open Our Democracy Act makes Election Day a holiday. Making it easier for more Americans to vote should be a no-brainer.
Sometimes, when you listen to the political rhetoric, it seems like we’re so far from progress. However, democracy is an unbelievably powerful force. It always has been. The Open Our Democracy Act builds on the strength of our country and its original system, which has been the envy of the world.
With better elections, better districts, and more people voting, we can overcome the noise and produce a Congress worthy of this great country.