Principled government involves good legislation, efficient execution and effective adjudication. House and senate members are tasked to produce good law, effective policy and sound budget priorities through legislation.
Every legislative action impacts some form of liberty be it economic, political, personal or social. For this reason, legislators must be very thoughtful to their effects. Good law is just, equally applied, intelligible, makes no favors, feasible and should limit unintended consequences. It should support our basic tenets including liberty, markets, and justice.
We should be beholden to the people, not parties, PACs, corporations or special interests. Party politicians take their orders from a few narrow, 'leaders' from their closed caucuses. They draw lines in the sand and demand obedience to their party and virtual war against the other. In their power lust, Republicans dismiss even the most reasonable Democratic proposals, Democrats dismiss the most sensible Republican proposals... this is gridlock. The Independent carries no baggage, serves no interest other than the people. The right independent, through good old fashion leadership, can build bridges and unify the otherwise dysfunctional party people in an aligned legislative vision for Iowa.
In other platform posts I outline specific policy initiatives. In this post, I describe principles of good, efficient, effective government. Our statehouse representatives shouldl:
- Instill confidence in every spent dollar - as an industrial engineer, I am trained to maximize system performance. Many times, this involves a journey to identify the current state and the future state. The current state represents how we do things today, the input, outputs, and all the steps of value creation (or waste) in between. Every dollar we spend should be tied to key objectives and measurable outputs. We have saved millions in our city without a noticeable decrease in services, with this same approach, we can save billions at the state level. We need to focus on one area of cost escalation... state employee benefit costs. The divergence of benefits compared to the private sector is concerning. We need to reform public pension and benefit programs to defined contribution and state-pooled, employee-directed health care. Until the health care system gets the reform it needs, state employees must share in the burden of health care benefits (most pay $0.00).
- End special interest influence and crony government - there's a pattern of rewards and political patronage happening in both the executive and legislative branches. From the hiring of former party bosses and influencers at Iowa's Regent institutions to the special treatment received by finance, insurance and Egyptian fertilizer plants. I am totally independent. I don't serve parties, PACs, corporations. Follow the money and favors and you will see who they serve.
- Propose sensible health care/Medicare, Medicaid, mental health, and social service solutions - many of the health care problems today are a result of government interference... medicare coding and reimbursement, 3rd party payer, malpractice fears, sanctioned monopolies and more. In Iowa, we create regional medical service monopolies by our CON (Certificate of Need), a license to practice hospital care. We clearly have a shortage of mental health beds (~700 by recent count) and psychiatric professionals (47th in the nation). But this is a predictable result based on the current level of reimbursement (fixed gov't pricing). If the price is too low, providers stop providing (public or private). While I applaud the effort to make Medicaid more efficient, the flawed execution is penny wise, pound foolish. Plus it reeks of more cronyism. Reform needs to focus not only on cost savings, but systems improvement as well. When the Medicaid dust settles, I fear neither will be accomplished. But Branstad's executive actions are a sign of an inept legislature that is unwilling to consider reforms of any kind, and this is hardly limited to health care. Solutions include advocating for ACA reform, reimbursement reviews, recidivism strategies, broad mental health screening and more.
- Preserve, expand and celebrate individual liberty and rights, defend the Constitution - no state attracts business or people because they limit liberties. Liberty and responsibility should be embraced. From the amendments I to XXVII (and excluding the 18th), I promise to uphold, protect and defend them all. Legislation that seeks to limit will need to pass the highest bar of scrutiny. I will be a friend of any organization seeking to expand liberties from the ACLU to the Institute of Justice.
- End the war on drugs, reform forfeiture practices and reform criminal justice - my position is clear. Starting decades ago, and formalized by the Richard Nixon administration, the War on Drugs has been a colossal trillion dollar failure ruining lives, preempting civil liberties and destroying economic and health benefits in a regulated marketplace. It is administered at every level of government, including our own. For Iowa's part, we have victimized thousands of citizens (primarily young, minority people) for non-violent choices. We have one of the largest racial disparities in the country. We are perpetrating a meaningless war on choice. We are denying people medicine. We are locking up non-violent citizens. We are blacklisting kids from future opportunity. I hope we continue to discuss this issue and pursue local solutions until the higher beings of political power recognize their folly or new (and real) leadership pushes them out.
- Develop sustainable environment solutions addressing Iowa Water Quality first - Click for my Iowa Water Quality Plan
While the list could continue, the takeaway is principle. Legislative actions should enhance economic, political, personal and social freedoms; it should be just, equally applied, intelligible, make no favors, feasible and should limit unintended consequences.