We have allowed political insiders and lobbyists and their corporate backers to have far too much influence over our public policy. There are more than 12,000 lobbyists who work the halls and back rooms where our elected officials are supposed to be doing the people’s work. That is a ratio of 22 lobbyists for every 1 lawmaker. That number is upside down, and it is why all too often our officials’ priorities are upside down too.
We must create comprehensive lobbying reform that focuses on transparency and places a “cooling off” period for up to five years before a former member of Congress can lobby their former institution. Current and former elected officials should serve the public because their main concern is the people and not their own career goals.
Right now, our leaders in Washington act like they are part of an exclusive club for the elite. While they spend at least half of the year out of state, they enjoy private gyms, dining rooms, better parking, subsidized healthcare and pensions that cost the taxpayer a fortune. There is a stark difference between the Senate Cloakroom and the factory floor back home. Our representatives have lost touch with our people and where they come from. It’s time to change that.
Arkansans need leaders that value being in Arkansas and putting their needs over living a life of privilege in Washington. Josh believes that there should be a mandatory number of days spent in state or district for elected officials that would ensure that citizens get the same kind of attention as the lobbyists and special interests.