First House Bill of the new Congress sets out election, political reforms
To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.
Congressman Scott Franklin sits on the Oversight and Reform Committee and the Armed Services Committee and will have the opportunity to review and consider this proposed legislation. Updates will be posted here and on the official site: Congress.gov where you can sign up for direct notifications of changes and progress,
Bill would make biggest changes in decades
WASHINGTON (AP) — As Congress begins debate this week on sweeping voting and ethics legislation, Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing: If signed into law, it would usher in the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections law in at least a generation.
House Resolution 1, Democrats’ 791-page bill, would touch virtually every aspect of the electoral process — striking down hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security, curbing partisan gerrymandering and curtailing the influence of big money in politics.
Republicans see those very measures as threats that would both limit the power of states to conduct elections and ultimately benefit Democrats, notably with higher turnout among minority voters.
Lakeland's Federal representatives
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An open letter to Congressman Scott Franklin
January 3, 2021
During your campaign for office you regularly expressed your fierce loyalty to Donald Trump and his ideas, actions, and policies, notably among them the the issue of wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
You refused to hear from your own Lakeland constituents during a City Commission meeting regarding a mandate, saying “we can take calls for the next three days, but I’m voting against it”. [ https://vimeo.com/431956827 ]
As this quote illustrates, Mr. Franklin, you have warned the 700,000 citizens of District 15 that you will not represent us. Only 216,000 of 511,000 registered voters chose you, so that failure is on us.
But sir, your job is not to do what you think is best, but to do what we think is best. And we will do better when you are up for re-election.
While many Republican politicians offered their support for the worst President of modern times, it seems they did so out of fear of his reprisal and the loss of his own loyal base of voters. They - and you - have behaved as if the honorable work of the U.S. Congress is merely a a game akin to college football, and that the only thing that matters is winning your contest, rather than ensuring the health, safety, and opportunity of the people.
They - and you - are wrong.
So I ask you now, on the first day of your term, will you please pledge yourself to serve the citizens and disavow your approval of Donald Trump and his minions?
Will you? Please?
I doubt it, which means that all of us must be alert and on guard against your ego and hubris, lest we fall victim to more GOP chaos and shenanigans along with ill-considered policies, legislation, and road blocking.
As a most junior member of the minority party I can only hope your influence is small and weak, but the very notion of your dismissive mindset in the halls of our nation’s capital should give us all pause. We will watch and learn, and if you can earn our respect, we may give you another chance.
Michael Maguire, Lakeland | Citizen, constituent, observer
Be careful what you wish for
Many people have lately been expressing a yearning for leadership, apparently believing that the right kind will take the reins and set their city, state, or country on a better path.
But not really.
It's not actually what leaders do. The role of leadership is to build consensus and rouse its community to take concerted action to improve its lot. Not to simply decide on the best course and yell, "Follow me!", or "Get out of the way!".
Every person elected to public office has a duty to do what the constituency requires, which requires them to seek that information, listen carefully and thoughtfully, and weigh all of the input in the larger context of the entire citizenship. Reacting and responding to the most vocal factions is not responsible or helpful.
The purpose of designated representatives is to manage the process of engaging all elements of their community and balancing the competing needs to produce a benign - if not actively beneficial - outcome for all.
City Commissioners, and their counterparts at all levels of our representative democracy, are not "officials", a designation that implies the power to decide and do. They are chosen to serve as a sounding board and think tank that will consider the issues that naturally arise in the complex collection of competing interests, and report their findings to the populace for its consideration and approval.
The citizens are the other half of this equation of course.
It is incumbent on all of us to provide input to the government through our elected representatives. Write, call, text, email, speak up! They can't hear you shaking your head.
If the government isn't working to suit you, you need to engage your citizenship and make contact. Whatever fraction of us that actually does this will create a basis for consideration and an opportunity for improvement. But all voices must be taken into account even if they can't be easily heard. This is the primary duty of all government. We will all be better served by choosing citizens who are capable and qualified to understand the complicated circumstances that are the natural consequence of the economic, cultural, and informed diversity that creates community.
Do not choose politicians. Do not choose leaders. Do not choose officials.
Choose to participate and insist on being represented. Insist on everyone being represented. Otherwise, we can simply run the city with a show of hands from the noise makers.