Looking back on the late President’s 1990 interview with the Forum
December 2018 Volume 52, No. 6
BEYOND the BELTWAY We asked Republican leaders from around the country a simple question: “What would you like to see from Washington in the coming year?”
G.T. Bynum Mayor Tulsa, OK
Connie Lawson Secretary of State Indiana
J.D. Mesnard Speaker of the House Arizona
Kristin Olsen Fmr. Assembly Leader California
Paul Pate Secretary of State Iowa
David Ralston Speaker of the House Georgia
Leslie Rutledge Attorney General Arkansas
Linda Upmeyer Speaker of the House Iowa
Robin Vos Speaker of the House Wisconsin
Wayne Williams Secretary of State Colorado
Jackie Winters Senate Minority Leader Oregon
Kim Wyman Secretary of State Washington
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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 52, Number 6
Beyond the Beltway
Forget Term Limits. How about Time Limits? By David Ralston Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives
The Party of Results in the Age of Rhetoric By Leslie Rutledge Attorney General of Arkansas
Health Care and Immigration: Our Most Salient Issues Are Longstanding Problems By Linda Upmeyer Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives
A Message from the States By Robin Vos Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly
Voters Deserve to Know Their Votes will Count By Wayne Williams Secretary of State of Colorado
Empower, Don’t Impede, the Pioneering Spirit of the States By Jackie Winters Republican Leader of the Oregon State Senate
Profiles and Perspectives: President Bush Responds In honor of the passing of President George H.W. Bush last month, the Forum reprints the interview we conducted with him in September of 1990.
Beyond the Beltway - The Forum asked GOP leaders around the country a simple question: “What would you like to see from Washington in the coming year?” 9
Govern Within Your Means: A Unifying Goal in a Divided Time By G.T. Bynum Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Diversity is Key to Election Security By Connie Lawson Secretary of State of Indiana
With Divided Federal Government, a Silver Lining Could Emerge By J.D. Mesnard Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives
People Matter, and it’s Time for Washington to Lead By Kristin Olsen 24 Securing Our Elections: Stanislaus County Supervisor & former How Washington Can Help the States GOP Leader of the California State Assembly By Kim Wyman Secretary of State of Washington It’s Time to Return Common Sense to Washington Sections By Paul Pate Secretary of State of Iowa 3 In this edition
Publisher The Ripon Society President Jim Conzelman Editorial Board Thomas Tauke Michael Castle Billy Pitts Pamela Sederholm Judy Van Rest Jim Murtha John Feehery
Editor Lou Zickar Editorial Assistant Kyle Chance Advertising Coordinator Asher Kaithern Special Assistant William Clutterbuck © Copyright 2018 By The Ripon Society All Rights Reserved
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RIPON FORUM December 2018
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THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD U.S. Senators: Shelley Moore Capito - Senate Co-Chair Cory Gardner - Senate Co-Chair Roy Blunt Richard Burr Bill Cassidy, M.D. Susan M. Collins Steve Daines Joni Ernst Deb Fischer Orrin G. Hatch John Hoeven Jerry Moran Pat Roberts Mike Rounds Thom Tillis Roger Wicker Todd Young U.S. Representatives: Susan W. Brooks - House Chair Martha Roby - Vice Chair, South Erik Paulsen - Vice Chair, Midwest Bill Shuster - Vice Chair, Northeast Greg Walden - Vice Chair, West Mark Amodei Don Bacon Andy Barr Mike Bishop Diane Black Marsha Blackburn Vern Buchanan Larry Bucshon, M.D. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Ken Calvert Tom Cole Barbara Comstock Ryan Costello Carlos Curbelo Rodney Davis Jeff Denham Charlie Dent Dan Donovan Sean Duffy Tom Emmer Bill Flores Rodney Frelinghuysen Kay Granger Sam Graves French Hill Bill Huizenga Randy Hultgren Darrell Issa Evan Jenkins Lynn Jenkins Dave Joyce John Katko Mike Kelly Adam Kinzinger Darin LaHood Leonard Lance Billy Long Frank Lucas Tom MacArthur Tom Marino Kevin McCarthy Michael McCaul Cathy McMorris Rodgers John Moolenaar Kristi Noem Bruce Poliquin John Ratcliffe Tom Reed Jim Renacci Tom Rice Tom Rooney Peter Roskam Steve Scalise John Shimkus Lamar Smith Steve Stivers Glenn Thompson Mac Thornberry Mike Turner Fred Upton Jackie Walorski Mimi Walters Brad Wenstrup Steve Womack
In this Edition
First, John McCain. Now, George H.W. Bush. For the second time in a year, a giant has been taken from the American political scene. As with the passing of Senator McCain on August 25th, the passing of President Bush on November 30th represents the end of an era – the passing of a generation of leaders who were tempered by war and who helped shape the peace. Both put service to others above all other virtues in life. Both led by example. And both put country ahead of party – and ahead of self – in confronting the top issues and challenges of the day. And if John McCain with his fiery streak of independence reminded us why courage is an essential ingredient of politics and public life, George H.W. Bush with his quiet strength and generosity reminded us why kindness matters in these noble pursuits, as well. The Ripon Forum was honored to feature both of these leaders in our pages over the years. As we did with Senator McCain in our September edition, we honor President Bush in this edition by republishing an interview he gave to our journal in September of 1990. It is a small tribute to a great man, and one which we hope our readers will find inspiration from today, as we bring 2018 to a close. As we look to the new year, the Forum has decided to look “Beyond the Beltway” for perspective on some of the key challenges America – and the GOP – will face in 2019. This is a critical year for both the party and the country. House Republicans are coming off a 40-seat loss in the general election. At the same time, job creation is up and unemployment is near a record low. The cross currents of American politics have never been greater. And through it all, the American people are demanding results. To that end, we reached out to GOP leaders around the country and asked them a simple question: “What would you like to see from Washington in the coming year?” We feature 12 leaders in this current edition – state and local officials who not only represent the grassroots of the party, but are key to its future success. As President Bush said in our 1990 interview with him, “A political party is like a choir because it needs two things: a single songbook – and lots of different voices.” These are some of those voices, and we are proud to provide them this forum in which they can be heard. Moving forward, we are planning to seek out and feature the voices of other GOP leaders from around the country in 2019. If you know of a state or local leader with a compelling vision, platform, or point of view about the future of the party or the issues of the day, please let us know. And as with all of our editions, we appreciate your readership, and welcome any comments you may have. Lou Zickar Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
RIPON FORUM December 2018
RIPON FORUM December 2018
Profiles and Perspectives:
President Bush Responds (originally published in September 1990)
On the balmy August morning in 1990 that George H.W. Bush addressed the nation to inform the U.S. of his decision to send American troops into the Persian Gulf, The Ripon Forum was provided a unique opportunity: to meet with the then-President in the Oval Office. The photo session marked the first time The Ripon Society had met with a President in the White House. Then-Ripon President Don Bliss and Bill McKenzie, who served as editor of the Forum at the time, represented the Society. The meeting took place directly after President Bush had spoken with the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Some of the discussion centered on the Middle East. But the President also recalled his appearance before the Society’s 1985 annual dinner, where he was recognized as Ripon’s “Republican of the Year.” To mark the 41st President’s passing on November 30th at the age of 94, the Forum has decided to reprint the interview conducted with him that summer. It is a small tribute not only to his past support of The Ripon Society, but to the service and leadership he provided to the American people over the course of his long and distinguished life.
Ripon Forum: The case can be made that foreign technological strength, from Brazil and Argentina to policy decisions need no longer be cast in mere bipolar India to the Republic of Korea. terms. Central Europe, for instance, is now emerging Ripon Forum: Now that some tensions within as a more independent group of nations. When you East-West relations have been reduced, or a few of the leave office in 1996, what will be the primary poles of conflicts recast, Third World problems may assume power within the world? greater significance. You are now dealing, for instance, President Bush: For many years, it has been clear with the Arab nationalism of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, that the world was becoming whose army recently invaded multipolar, particularly in Kuwait. Over the last decade political and economic terms. we have also been confronted “Third World radicalism Japan and Western Europe with more radical elements remains a serious problem, are now major international within the Islamic faith, such actors, with the European as the Shiite Muslims in Iran. which may indeed demand Community heading toward How do we begin to reckon more of our attention in a yet another milestone of with such forces? unity and consolidation by President Bush: Third world in which East-West the end of 1992. The EC is World radicalism remains a tensions have relaxed.” also acting as a magnet to the serious problem, which may new democracies of Central indeed demand more of our and Eastern Europe. attention in a world in which The Soviet Union, whatever its political evolution, East-West tensions have relaxed. Saddam Hussein will remain a formidable military power. This makes represents one extreme form. The spread of ballisticit essential for the United States to remain engaged missile, chemical warfare and nuclear capabilities in the world, particularly in Europe, to maintain the heightens the danger from North America to Southwest global balance. Asia. China will continue to be a major factor, and will These are profound political forces that will not resume an even more important role once it recovers soon pass from the scene. The Middle East promises the path of economic and political reform so tragically to be a region of turmoil in the coming decade. The lost at Tiananmen. United States needs to remain engaged in the search Some of the newly industrialized nations in the for peace. The West needs to defend its interests and developing world have potential to become major values against aggression; it needs to stand by its players, too, because of their growing economic and friends in the region who are resisting such forces. RIPON FORUM December 2018
Ripon Forum: Let’s move ahead, it’s summer of The day will come when such extreme policies and philosophies are discredited by their failure to improve 1992, and you’re preparing your acceptance speech for the Republican National Convention. What points do the well-being of the people subjected to them. Ripon Forum: You’ve encountered a great deal you wish to establish at that gathering? What is the of political heat over your new position favoring theme that will compare to your now famous call for a “tax revenue increases.” What do you hope to gain “kinder, gentler” nation? President Bush: For me to accept the premise in return from congressional Democrats during the of your question, even hypothetically, would be current budget summit? President Bush: Our goal in these budget presumptuous. A president has so many opportunities negotiations is a lasting resolution of the budget to be presumptuous that it’s work just making sure you crisis, to end this deficit which has been hanging avoid them! So let me simply say that I am flattered by over the country for years now, and to lead America your question and that regardless of what I am doing reinvigorated and competitive into the new century. At in 1992, I will certainly still be striving for a kinder, the beginning of last May, I announced that the fiscal gentler nation —and I am sure the Ripon Society will crisis facing the country was so severe that there would be as well. Ripon Forum: At a time when the incidence be “no preconditions”—everything was on the table. On June 26th, after a discouraging lack of progress of unplanned pregnancies and abortion is high, and by our Democrat counterparts, I went even farther and public differences on abortion are divisive, federal said that the situation was severe enough to warrant spending on contraceptive education and family planning services are lower “entitlement and mandatory in real terms than they were program reform, tax 10 years ago. Do you think revenue increases, growth the government can do incentives, discretionary “The causes of our budget more to assist pregnancy spending reductions, woes did not come out of prevention? If not, why not? orderly reduction in defense President Bush: Certainly expenditures and budget nowhere. They are created by the government can do process reform.” our political representatives more to prevent unwanted Now we are into the and they will be solved by pregnancy. I am very proud Fall. If the Democrats don’t get a move on, they will find them—with the help of groups of the work that the secretary of health and human the government programs like the Ripon Society.” services, Dr. Louis Sullivan, decimated by the Gramm— has done in spreading the Rudman—Hollings message that we can help sequester: an across-thethose for whom it may seem board cut of over one hundred billion dollars in government spending. We to be too late. As for others, as Dr. Sullivan said, we must cultivate “a culture of character” in order to would much prefer not to see a sequester take place. We are still hopeful that the congressional instill individual responsibility. Money alone is not the Democrats will cooperate. There is still time and answer. But strengthening the institution of the family there is certainly a good faith eagerness on our part is surely part of the answer. I would also add that where to move forward. America’s future both economically unwanted pregnancies do occur, we have encouraged and as the leading nation of the world depends on adoption of the child—turning unwanted pregnancies a permanent fiscal solution. In that regard, I have into wanted, cherished children, and we hope to advocated for some time now a cut in the capital do much more. I have proposed the “Special Needs gains tax rate and real reform in the budget process: Adoption Assistance Act of 1989” to help support and a balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto and encourage adoption of children with special needs by enhanced rescission power in order to hold the line federal employees. We are waiting for Congress to on spending while being flexible enough to preserve pass that legislation. Ripon Forum: In the late 1940s, the oil industry, important government programs. The causes of our budget woes did not come Texas and the West in general represented America’s out of nowhere. They are created by our political future, and for a 24 year-old Yale graduate, they representatives and they will be solved by them—with presented quite a challenge. How did your move to the help of groups like the Ripon Society making their Odessa, Texas in 1948 help shape your economic and voice heard for a return to the tried and true Republican political views? President Bush: I like to think that my own move values of common sense. 6
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West shaped me in the way that a favorite president President Bush: This is the age of empowerment, of mine, Theodore Roosevelt, was shaped by his own and the Republican Party is the party of empowerment. going out West—the way it helped him develop his We believe in strengthening families, not multiplying lifelong appreciation not just for people but for nature. bureaucracies. Republicans think parents should Now when Barbara and I headed West it was in a red decide which public school is best for their kids. Studebaker, not a locomotive. But I’ve always had That’s why this administration the same appreciation for the outdoors, and I think has proposed the Education Excellence Act of it partly explains my determination, like his, to do 1990 to provide incentives among other things for something about the environment. magnet school programs and to provide increased I also admire the fact that Teddy Roosevelt was choice for parents in determining their children’s a reformer. He stood for high ethical standards, schools. We’ve also unveiled a program to help poor particularly in public people run or –better service. That kind of yet—own their integrity, of always public housing units. being your own man, And we support a is also a hallmark of child care tax credit the West. Many of the for low- income reform movements working families in American history that will enable them came out of wherever to care for their kids was considered in the manner they the West—Ripon, choose. Wisconsin is an The message example. of empowerment Reform really has great appeal means restoring things to all Americans, to their proper state. but particularly to Photo: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation In that sense, both those who have TR’s conservationism been historically “A political party is like a choir and his trust busting disadvantaged. were reforms. It may They’re the ones because it needs two things: a single be that the West exerts who’ve suffered songbook—and lots of a constant force on most from the different voices.” us, as it did on TR, bureaucratic welfare and as I like to think state. They want it does on me: always something new and reminding me that reform is a kind of stewardship, of something better. And that’s what the Republican caring and concern whether for nature, for humanity or Party is offering. Republicans stand together for for the institutions of humanity. opportunity, empowerment and strong families. But Ripon Forum: You have expressed a keen interest in it’s a big party: we’ve got a wide variety of ideas on increasing the base of the Republican party, in particular how to bring these principles into practice. That’s among black Americans. What is your vision for the good. A political party is like a choir because it needs GOP? Do you view it as a coalition of different voices or two things: a single songbook — and lots of different as an organization guided by one or two defining ideas? voices. RF
Editor’s Note: In addition to the passing of President Bush, The Ripon Society lost another longtime supporter this past year with the passing of Bill Lithgow in June. A native of Rensselaer, New York, Bill served as President of Ripon’s New York State Chapter, and was also a member of the Society’s National Executive Board during the 1970s and 1980s. He was a dedicated public servant who served his country during the Vietnam War with the U.S. Army. He also held a number of positions with the Federal Government, the New York State legislature, and the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York. The Ripon Society mourns his passing, and honors his contributions not only to our organization, but to his state and country, as well. RIPON FORUM December 2018
Beyond the Beltway
We asked Republican leaders from around the country a simple question: “What would you like to see from Washington in the coming year?” With essays by G.T. Bynum, Connie Lawson, J.D. Mesnard, Kristin Olsen, Paul Pate, David Ralston, Leslie Rutledge, Linda Upmeyer, Robin Vos, Wayne Williams, Jackie Winters & Kim Wyman
RIPON FORUM December 2018
Govern Within Your Means A Unifying Goal in a Divided Time
by G.T. BYNUM After every national election, in the wake of Presidents known for the expansion of entitlements, like partisan rancor reaching a fever pitch, most Americans Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, challenged revert to the same old hope: hope that those elected can their subordinates to minimize deficit spending and put the fight behind them and work together in our best made politically difficult decisions in line with those interest. challenges The greatest contribution President Trump and Yet today, the American people are alerted to the Congress could make in 2019 is to follow the lead of dangers of the deficit mostly when a stand-off occurs cities across America and balance around the debt ceiling. After that their budget. Neither political party crisis inevitably passes, so too does can claim innocence in digging the any national discussion about how to hole, but both could leave a better climb out of our shared fiscal hole. future for coming generations by A focus on balancing the budget relieving the debt with which those would also provide federal leaders Americans are being saddled. with the same opportunity that local City government is in a leaders in cities across America vanguard at the moment. There enjoy every day: the chance to has never been a time when more work together in solving a practical resources have been focused on problem, together as Americans developing best practices for these rather than as Republicans or laboratories of democracy. There Democrats. has arguably never been more There is an accepted expectation for the quality of life conventional wisdom in America cities are to deliver. today that local leaders can work G.T. Bynum Yet in the midst of all this, across party lines because their whether liberal cities on the coasts issues are logistical, while those or conservative cities in the plains, faced by federal leaders are more The greatest the common bond shared by nearly contribution President difficult to address due to partisan all cities is the mandate to work philosophical differences. This lets Trump and Congress within a balanced budget. This has federal leaders off the hook and forced difficult decisions around could make in 2019 is to does a disservice to the hard work pensions, staffing, service delivery, of local communities. follow the lead of cities and infrastructure maintenance. But While the old axiom that those decisions occur, and future â€œthereâ€™s no such thing as a Democrat across America and debt is avoided, because a balanced or Republican potholeâ€? is true, the balance their budget. budget is required. reality is that funding for fixing The federal government all too potholes within a balanced budget often avoids those open discussions around priorities comes at the expense of public safety staffing, public and thereby pawns the challenges of leadership off on employee pensions, abandoned home remediation - or generations not yet born. any number of other worthy causes. Any budgetary It is important to remember this is a relatively new discussion is necessarily a prioritization of values, phenomenon. Less than 100 years ago, President Calvin whether they are local, national, or international. Coolidge grappled in his annual budget with how to The difference arises because local leaders have the maximize the surplus in order to pay down war debt. luxury of dealing with problems that are generally more RIPON FORUM December 2018
concrete (a street paving project being more tangible to specific problem with smart people on both sides of the voters than a budget deficit), and therefore constituents aisle who can offer ideas for an overall solution. For my generation, the only time we’ve seen have a more immediate indicator of success or failure. So they recognize the obvious - that neither Republicans Republicans and Democrats in DC set aside partisanship nor Democrats have the market cornered on good ideas for the greater good has been in fleeting moments of tragedy or war. Yet the - and bring people together national debt presents as to solve their tangible great a challenge to our problems. For my generation, the only shared security and future The budget deficit is time we’ve seen Republicans opportunity as any armed not a tangible problem opponent. The first step today, but it will be soon and Democrats in DC set aside in addressing that debt, in if it is not brought in line. partisanship for the greater putting future generations Like lead pipes left to fester good has been in fleeting in a safer position, is to in a local water utility, the balance the federal budget. problem is out of sight until moments of tragedy or war. For the good of our one day when it becomes a country’s security and catastrophe. prosperity - both today and So this generation of federal leaders can either spend the next two years tomorrow - President Trump and the 116th Congress fighting over who gets to be in charge when that should lead that challenging national discussion around catastrophe presents itself, or they can more nobly priorities and use the bipartisan genius of Americans to balance the federal budget. RF serve the American people by preventing it. Addressing the budget deficit will not be easy. If it were, someone would have already done it. But it is a G.T. Bynum is the Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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RIPON FORUM December 2018
Diversity is Key to Election Security by CONNIE LAWSON
In the 2000s, after the hanging chads in Florida, Congress felt Since the 2016 election, Washington has felt a need to legislate election reform, and every agency and national policy a need to legislate. As a result, each state is now required to have a organization has pushed their own reform agenda. What many statewide voter registration system that tracks all of the registered have missed is the need to speak with election officials who voters in the state. These systems are online. In my state, it is the only statewide system that is online. While I believe it is valuable, actually run elections. If you take a moment to speak with Secretaries of State it is the only system we have evidence of being targeted by foreign across the county, you will find there is an overwhelming actors. Arizona and Illinois had their systems compromised in concern about public confidence, not that votes were changed 2016, and the Department of Homeland Security has said others in 2016. Election administrators understand the top threats are were targeted. This instance alone illustrates that diversity is key influence campaigns via social media and voter confidence. We to security, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have national standards. need to change the narrative around election tampering so voters We can use the post-2000 election legislation, known as the Help understand their vote is safe and secure. Secretaries of State and America Vote Act, as a model—if federal law requires it, let the the local election officials who run elections are not naïve to the state decide how to implement. Academia’s call for mandatory threats our elections face, but we want audits is the perfect example. Academics to ensure legislators, activists, and the believe all states should use risk-limiting public understand the top threats. audits, an audit based on hand counts As Indiana’s Chief Elections Officer, of statistical samples of paper ballots. As I do believe it is time to modernize our we move towards risk-limiting measures, elections. Many states, including Indiana, we need to let each state adapt their current have already reformed our security audit process to include risk-limiting practices. As we look to modernize as a measures. Many states already have audit nation, Washington needs to ensure the processes in place that could be adjusted. administration of elections stays under They don’t need a mandate to make state and local control as required by the changes. 10th amendment of the Constitution. The In Indiana, we have piloted a new state and local elected officials who run mathematical method developed by an elections are accountable to the voters. MIT professor. This method worked well Shifting to a federal agency running for my state but it may not in another. In elections or forcing a national system will Connie Lawson addition, varying audit practices from state put bureaucrats in charge and voters will to state is a security measure. Diversity lose their ability to affect change. We need to change in our audit processes adds an additional In addition, a national election the narrative around challenge for tampering. system would make us more vulnerable I am a firm believer in home to foreign interference. Currently, each election tampering rule and that elections must stay in local state has its own policies, procedures, so voters understand control. Congress can be helpful by and equipment. Navigating each state has providing states with the tools to protect proven difficult for even our own federal their vote is safe and elections and, just as importantly, funding government, but I see it as a security secure. those protections. I recognize that any measure. There is no one-size fits all way time funding is provided there are strings to hack a US election. We must recognize attached. We need to ensure those strings don’t discourage the value of diversity. In New England, there are still towns that have an annual diversity or hinder a state’s ability to run elections. There has been talk of new national election standards for meeting to vote on the budget. In Oregon, there is no local interaction. They simply drop their ballots in the mail. Elections over two years now. If we want to see change before the next are adapted to political culture, history and tradition in each state. presidential election, it must happen soon. Election administrators RF We must value this diversity and the procedures that work for each are already planning for 2020. state. As we look forward, we should encourage and incentivize Connie Lawson serves as Secretary of State of Indiana. innovations that develop a true 21st century voting system. RIPON FORUM December 2018
With Divided Federal Government, a Silver Lining Could Emerge by J.D. MESNARD
Like most Republicans, my expectations for the onto state governments. Don’t get me wrong, I would federal government over the next two years were much rather see Republicans control both chambers of significantly lowered when it became clear on election Congress - but at a time when our federal government night that Democrats had taken control of the House continues to expand and the national debt continues to of Representatives. The prospect of Congress passing grow, there can be virtue in gridlock. meaningful legislation that will positively impact states It’s my hope that out of this gridlock, the federal on issues like regulatory reform, energy policy, or government finds a renewed sense of federalism. If further improvements to the tax code seem unlikely with divided government paralyzes Congress to address a a divided government. However, problem, states governments are there is still much the federal more than capable of stepping in government can do (and not do) to and offering solutions that best fit empower state governments. their residents. That’s what our The federal government sets the Founders intended. For instance, tone for political discourse in our the federal government owns country, and there is a lot that can over 40% of the land in Arizona, be done to improve civility. There and I’m confident that Arizonans are major disagreements between would do a much better job of the political parties, and even within managing some of that land. them. However, political opponents There’s also direct action that aren’t enemies, and elected officials states can take to rein in runaway in both parties need to do a better federal spending. Last year, job of communicating that to voters. Arizona hosted a planning session The parties have very different with over 20 other states for an visions of how to improve our Article V convention to add a country, but we often lose sight of balanced budget amendment to the J.D. Mesnard the fact that we all love our country U.S. Constitution and give states and are fighting to make it better. In a greater voice when it comes to Political opponents this country we settle disagreements the national debt. There’s still aren’t enemies, and with debate and ballots, not with much work to do in order to make armies and edicts. The same cannot such an amendment a reality, but elected officials in be said in all parts of the world, and with each taxpayer’s share of the both parties need for that, we should all be extremely national debt at over $178,000 to do a better job of grateful. and growing, I believe a balanced It was certainly disappointing budget amendment is a necessary communicating that for Republicans to lose control eventuality. to voters. of the House of Representatives, While expectations for the next making it much more difficult Congress are low, taxpayers do to implement sound policy and have some cause for optimism. The fiscal restraint. However, for those of us that believe in federal government may be plagued by gridlock and limited government, there is a silver lining to divided discord, but state governments will continue to balance government. Sharing control of Congress tends to budgets, solve problems, and create opportunities. RF produce gridlock, and neither party will have an opportunity to pass the kind of sweeping legislation J.D. Mesnard is the Speaker of the Arizona House of that tends to bust budgets and force unfunded mandates Representatives 12
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People Matter, and it’s Time for Washington to Lead by K R I S T I N O L S E N 2018 has been a rough year in American politics. people freedom to run their own lives and businesses Divisive and hateful rhetoric has become a norm, facts without undue government interference. We welcomed have become hard to discover as truth-telling is replaced people from all over the world who sought to live our with distortions and lies by elected officials and the American Dream by contributing to society and the media, and political polarization is higher than at any economy. They could be secure in knowing they would time in recent memory. Through it all, people have been not be persecuted for who they are, and they could build left distressed and eager for change, resulting in vigorous strong families and vibrant neighborhoods. grassroots engagement and many incumbents losing their Unfortunately, we have lost our way as a Party. We mid-term elections. have failed to bring people together and to lead thoughtful Nowhere has this been more vividly illustrated than debates on public policy solutions to the daily struggles in California, where there are now fewer Republicans faced by Americans. We have failed to convince voters serving in the Congressional how solutions based on conservative Delegation than at any time since principles help people thrive. We the 1940s. have failed to give people hope and The good news is that there is opportunity. opportunity in crisis if Republicans Instead, we have remained will do some serious soul-searching silent about or, in the worst of cases, and begin leading with honesty promoted the hateful rhetoric and and optimism, offering practical bigotry that is tearing our country solutions to real problems and apart. We have thrown fits about figuring out how to unify Americans policies like the Affordable Care Act and resonate with the public at and then had no replacement plan large, rather than just blaming the seven years later. We’ve blamed other side for their woes. others for America’s challenges As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Failures instead of building alliances and are finger posts on the road to solving problems. achievement.” Moving into 2019, let’s Achieving starts with recommit ourselves to our original Kristin Olsen remembering what drew us – as principles and to governing. Let’s Republican elected officials – to work on issues that everyday The good news is that public service in the first place. For Americans care about and give me, it was because people matter. I them a reason to trust us again, there is opportunity in wanted to help improve the quality being authentic, sincere, and crisis if Republicans of life for people in my family, friendly in the way we talk with neighborhood, and community. people, treating them as next-door will do some serious Later, I wanted to do the same for neighbors rather than adversaries. soul-searching. people in my state and nation. Americans are concerned Our core Republican principles about why so many of our kids used to be about helping other don’t enjoy going to school; we’re people by promoting liberty and responsibility, worried – particularly in California – about whether economic opportunity and freedom, fiscal discipline and there will be enough water to provide for the needs of accountability, efficiency in a limited government. people, businesses, and the environment. We stress about We believed in lifting people up out of poverty by congested traffic corridors, saving enough for retirement, giving them fair and robust economic opportunities and and finding balance between our work and home lives. by providing world-class education. We stood for giving As the New Year begins, I urge Congress and the RIPON FORUM December 2018
President to hit reset and begin giving their constituents to drive economic mobility, and balancing the budget the leadership America deserves. Prioritize advancing would be three good places to start. In the midst of debate, Congressional Republicans â€“ solutions to the lack of accessible and affordable healthcare, the ever-increasing cost of a college and all of us in elected office - should model and hold each other accountable to education, growing truth-telling and civility, academic achievement Millions of Americans are understanding that words gaps and income inequality, matter, that healing and the dynamically-changing waiting for Congress to lead. unity is important to the future of work as robotics, Transportation and water sustainability, strength, and AI, and other technology growth of our nation. advancements grow, the infrastructure, policies to drive Despite our current lack of security at our economic mobility, and balancing policy and political borders, climate change the budget would be three good challenges, we still live in and the wildfires raging the greatest nation on earth. through our forest lands and places to start. Letâ€™s push forward, give water disappearing from our Americans the leadership reservoirs. Deliver comprehensive, workable solutions for the and policy solutions they deserve, and restore our increasing number of homeless people living on the reputation for strength and greatness across the globe. RF streets, children in poverty, and the immigrants who Why? Because people matter. desperately want to become Americans and help our Kristin Olsen serves as the Stanislaus County Supervisor economy grow. Millions of Americans are waiting for Congress to and is the former Republican Leader of the California lead. Transportation and water infrastructure, policies State Assembly.
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It’s Time to Return Common Sense to Washington by PAUL PATE Continuing to reduce and cut government overregulation Like many Americans, I look at the discord in Washington, D.C. and shake my head with disgust. The constant bickering and should be a top priority. Small businesses are the backbone of our pursuit of a soundbite to air repeatedly on cable news needs to economy. It is imperative that we free them up to focus on putting stop. It is time for D.C. politicians to put people over party and get their product or service out and not having to be paper shufflers, burdened with the heavy hand of government at every turn. back to public service. The partisan divide in our country seems to be getting larger Common sense needs to be returned to government. The system and our leaders in Washington are contributing to it. We need our should be helping entrepreneurs cut through the red tape instead of elected officials to stop demonizing every idea that comes from adding layers of bureaucracy. States serve as the laboratories to a better government and, the other party simply because it comes from the other party. It’s not about who came up with the idea. It should be about getting as such, Congress and the President would do well to look to the states for successful models. U.S. News the job done in the best interest of the and World Report recently ranked Iowa as American people. the number one state in the country. We are I’m a small government conservative, perfectly situated in the heart of the Midwest but that does not mean I reject all ideas to allow our state to promote value-added that come from the Democratic Party agriculture, wind energy, and many other just because Democrats proposed them. areas. Iowa has one of the highest voting Nor should they reject ideas just because registration and participation rates in the Republicans proposed them. There are nation, the best high school graduation rate good ideas from both sides of the aisle. in the nation and robust civic engagement As the owner of a successful small in all corners of the state. Every state has business, former state senator, former mayor, unique strengths they can draw upon to be and current Iowa Secretary of State, I know competitive internationally, if cultivated the value of finding common ground to and promoted properly. That partnership accomplish things. That is what I would like between the private sector and government to see our leaders in Washington do. President is crucial. That is a role the federal Trump and the members of Congress need Paul Pate government can play. to find common ground on economic issues, Americans want a Congress that healthcare, immigration and national defense As Iowa’s Secretary of works for them. Our citizens’ voices need to make our country stronger. State, I have made it a to be heard. If we do not stop the partisan Rather than standing on their soap bickering, Americans will lose confidence boxes and making speeches about what priority for my office in our elections process. It is imperative is wrong with the other political party, to work at the speed of those of us in elected offices set an example I would like to see our federal officials huddle up and work together on what we business, not the speed in how we run our campaigns and how we conduct ourselves when we are serving agree on. The President and Congress of government. the public. Demonizing someone else need to each lay out an agenda the because their viewpoint differs from yours American public can relate to and support. That common ground can help them determine the details of what is counterproductive. President Ronald Reagan‘s farewell message about the pieces of the plan can be implemented today and what might “shining city on a hill” is still a dream Americans believe in. They require a more patient strategy. As Iowa’s Secretary of State, I have made it a priority for are asking their government leaders to clear a path, remove barriers my office to work at the speed of business, not the speed of and level the playing field. Americans do not need a hand out, but government. We strive to give small businesses the service they a hand up. Give citizens the tools and the knowledge needed to need, when they need it. That is the way the federal government succeed, so they too can have a piece of the American dream. I needs to work. They need to partner more effectively with the U.S. believe that is what state government and local government do RF Small Business Administration, community colleges, chambers of best. Congress need to take a page out of that playbook. commerce, city governments and other groups that have a vested Paul Pate serves as Secretary of State of Iowa. interest in businesses launching and thriving. RIPON FORUM December 2018
Forget Term Limits. How about Time Limits? by DAVID RALSTON When we look to Washington D.C., we look & Jobs Act, which has created jobs, empowered families through the lens of what John Winthrop described as, to save, and allowed businesses to reinvest, is so vital to “a city upon a hill.” We don’t expect partisan rancor or our way forward. a bureaucracy mired in red tape. We expect to see the That’s why proposals like the President’s potential of a nation, the promise of a better tomorrow Infrastructure Initiative, which would create partnerships for every American. between government and private In today’s political landscape, business, are so necessary. it can be so difficult to see how far These ideas and initiatives we have come. On a recent visit are forward-thinking, positive to the President Ronald W. Reagan ways to make our nation better by Presidential Library in California, expanding economic opportunity I was reminded how much the tone and stimulating economic activity. and tenor of our discourse can affect If we can focus on where we the mood of the nation. want our nation to go, we can President Reagan, like leaders tackle significant public policy from both sides of the aisle, liked challenges and find new ways to to rely on Winthrop’s words to keep America that bright, shining describe his vision, his way of city upon a hill. looking at America’s potential. It But how do we ensure these wasn’t until his farewell address to proposals become policy? How do the nation in January 1989 that he we move forward in a time when fleshed out that vision. Washington D.C. seems stalled David Ralston President Reagan said, “…In on bringing any “big ideas” into my mind it was a tall, proud city reality? built on rocks stronger than oceans, Some will tell you that we The power that wind-swept, God-blessed, and must make fundamental changes underlies Republican teeming with people of all kinds to our political structure to ensure living in harmony and peace; a city continued progress. I don’t wholly Party principles with free ports that hummed with disagree with this way of thinking, is one of endless commerce and creativity.” but I do think you have to be careful When we contemplate what in tinkering with the framework of opportunity. we want to see coming out of our system of government. Washington, we must first think of I know concepts like what we want to see our nation be Congressional term-limits are and what we want to see our nation become. nothing new. They offer a convenient elixir for those The power that underlies Republican Party looking to cure the ills of “the swamp.” principles is one of endless opportunity. Our party is But I’d offer another idea. In Georgia, our General rooted in a positive vision that anything you are willing Assembly is limited by our state constitution to meeting to work for can be achieved. for just 40 legislative days per year. Now with weekends That is why it is so critical that the ideas and policy and committee-work days, those 40 legislative days proposals coming from Washington must embrace with usually stretch out to about three months, so there is a enthusiasm empowerment through opportunity. way to allow for extra time if needed. That’s why landmark legislation like the Tax Cuts But we do not have the luxury (or curse) of an 16
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endless calendar like Congress does. If you want to legislation on how to tackle those issues. I appreciate every member of Congress and am make Congress, and the federal government as a whole, more responsive and more accountable to the will and grateful for their service. I can only imagine how needs of the nation, perhaps limiting the amount of time frustrating it must be for them to be stymied by gridlock. We all want our nation to be better. As Republicans, it can be in session per year would serve to apply some we have some very gentle pressure. positive ideas on how They say work We all want our nation to be better. As to achieve long-term expands to fill the time allotted. Maybe Republicans, we have some very positive goals. Perhaps, at the a deadline would help ideas on how to achieve long-term goals. end of the day, all we move work along. need is a deadline to For example, if Perhaps, at the end of the day, all we help us get there. you limited Congress need is a deadline to help us get there. It may not cure to meeting for only every ill, but if it gets six months of the us one step closer to year, you’d not only have the benefit of saving money on security and other President Reagan’s vision of us as that “city on a hill,” RF expenses, but you’d allow members to spend more time it is worth a shot. in their home states. They’d get to see firsthand the challenges and David Ralston is the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House opportunities at home and design more thoughtful of Representatives.
Conservatives Supporting a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax
We are an organization of leading conservatives that don’t like carbon pollution and the regulations previous administrations have proposed to reduce it. Replacing existing carbon regulations with a carbon tax would grow the economy, pave the way for more business and individual tax cuts, and answer the call of young Americans to be responsible stewards of the environment.
Alliance for Market Solutions Supports the Ripon Society allianceformarketsolutions.org
RIPON FORUM December 2018
The Party of Results in the Age of Rhetoric by LESLIE RUTLEDGE
For weeks leading up to Election Day, the national by building a coalition with my colleagues in other states, media’s confidence in a “blue wave” for Democrats could I have worked with the President to fight government red not be shaken — until Election Day actually came. Instead, tape to help businesses thrive again in Arkansas and across Democrats were left with nothing more than a “blue drip.” the country. Partnerships like this are essential to keep us Voters know that America is moving in the right direction on the right track and will continue to be a plausible priority with a booming economy, lower taxes for hardworking as we head into 2019. families and respect for our great nation around the globe. While our economy is thriving, Americans are And while House leadership changed hands, the Republican working together again despite the Democrats’ insistence majority was expanded in the U.S. Senate, much to the that we are a bitterly divided country. As a result of the shock of beltway pundits. GOP’s ability to hold the U.S. Senate, When reality finally set in, President Trump’s pro-job growth Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and agenda will continue creating jobs the Democrats pivoted by touting the and expanding opportunities for all historic number of women elected Americans. The President will also to Congress. Here in my home state, be able to appoint more judges to our Arkansas has already been blazing federal court system who will uphold a trail in this arena for years. In fact, the Constitution and rule of law – like as a result of this year’s election, the Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch Natural State currently has 32 women and Brett Kavanaugh. in our state legislature, 17 of whom I am proud to have been an are Republicans. This has been a trend early supporter of President Trump, in Arkansas for some time now, and I attending the 2016 Republican anticipate adding more women to the National Convention as the only ranks of Arkansas’s political leadership elected official in Arkansas to be in the future. a Trump delegate. My support for Leslie Rutledge In 2014, I was elected as the first his agenda has not wavered, and woman and first Republican Attorney as we begin a new Congress, I will General from Arkansas. In addition As a result of this year’s wipe the dust off my “Fire Pelosi” to being re-elected by a large margin sign dating back to my Republican election, the Natural this year, I recently became the first National Committee days — because State currently has 32 constitutional officer in the state to I feel the energy of a strong America give birth while holding office. The continuing to rise. And, that is why women in our state same year as I was elected, my friend this November, Americans took legislature, 17 of whom action to keep us moving in the right and fellow constitutional officer, State Auditor Andrea Lea, was also elected direction. are Republicans. as the first female to hold her respective I am proud of the work we have office. Following her four years of done on behalf of Americans, and I steady, innovative leadership, she was easily re-elected this look forward to the New Year with a reinvigorated passion November. So while the Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters to fight for Arkansans and the right of every American to crowd plays identity politics, Arkansas Republicans have continue enjoying what our Founding Fathers enshrined actually been leading the way. in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution: Arkansas, like many other states nationwide, is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. RF experiencing historically low unemployment and robust economic growth. President Donald J. Trump’s bold Leslie Rutledge serves as Attorney General for the State of leadership is the reason this country has record tax cuts, and Arkansas. 18
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Healthcare and Immigration:
Our Most Salient Issues Are Longstanding Problems by LINDA UPMEYER
On November 6, voters in this great country made their President Trump to make health care more affordable and voices heard. While there was no blue wave, Americans accessible for families and small business owners across our indicated that they want members of both parties to work country. At the very minimum, I would urge our leaders at together with President Trump to address their priorities. I the national level to give more flexibility and opportunity am hopeful that this new arrangement of a divided Congress to the states. A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely the best will present the opportunity to find bipartisan solutions to option, and they should allow states to be innovative in some of the challenges that our country faces. figuring out new ways to improve the delivery of health care Chief among those challenges is the issue of health care. and reduce costs. I am not the only one who believes this Another critical issue that I’d should be a top priority for Congress in like to see Congress address is January. Polling showed us that a large immigration. It seems we have been segment of the American public has talking about immigration for years, said this was a topic that was driving but all we have seen is gridlock and them to vote in this fall’s elections, delay. This is another topic that voters frequently ranking as the #1 issue. across the country based their vote on Since the enactment of Obamacare, this fall. too many Americans have been left Most people support strong behind and are paying the price. borders so we know who is coming While our uninsured rate has dropped, in and out of our country and protect premiums have skyrocketed and choice public safety. Most also want to see and competition has been restricted. some kind of long-term certainty for If you look at my home state of people who are in the country illegally. Iowa, we were seen as a prime example This is critical because we need to be for the failure of Obamacare as our welcoming to a workforce that can individual insurance market was in meet the needs of our employers for Linda Upmeyer collapse. In 2018, Iowans had only the future. There are of course some one company they could buy health who disagree, but I believe that there insurance from and premiums were Most people support is a path forward that both sides going up by more than 50%. The state can support. In fact, they must get strong borders … Insurance Commissioner developed a something done. The voters have Most also want to see plan to try to stabilize the market, but spoken. As long as both Republicans CMS rejected the plan citing inflexible and Democrats come to the table and some kind of longrules. This was going to leave more agree not to dig in their heels, I am term certainty for than 20,000 Iowans who didn’t qualify hopeful. for subsidies, paying up to $40,000, or people who are in the A divided Congress should be a more, per year for health insurance. new opportunity and a fresh start to see country illegally. As a state, we knew we had to find what can be accomplished. If they are some sort of solution, so we created a all willing to put aside party differences, new option for health coverage that operates similarly to the put less focus on scoring points, and work together, I think we way insurance did pre-Obamacare. These health plans will could see some real progress on priorities that Americans care cost about half what traditional insurance does. The plans about. We will have to wait and see, but there is no doubt that are offered by the Iowa Farm Bureau and administered by we will all be watching. RF Wellmark, a partnership that has existed for decades. I remain hopeful that there is some sort of middle ground Linda Upmeyer is the Speaker of the Iowa House of that can be reached between Republicans, Democrats, and Representatives. RIPON FORUM December 2018
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A Message from the States
Wisconsin has to beg routinely for permission to innovate. One successful program that has been in place since 2002 still has to get a waiver approved. More than 85,000 seniors are enrolled in the popular SeniorCare program, which helps pay for prescription drugs. Wisconsin would like to make the waiver permanent but it isn’t allowed. Instead, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services could only apply for a ten-year renewal application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. by ROBIN VOS Premiums for individuals on Obamacare have skyrocketed; most recently they jumped 44 percent as a result of a decline of As the members of Congress and the Trump Administration providers and enrollees in the program. Wisconsin Republicans work on their agenda for the upcoming session, those of us outside found a workaround to provide relief to a failing program. The the Beltway have a few ideas for them. There is one in particular federal government granted Wisconsin a 1332 innovation waiver that has bipartisan support at the state level from legislators so the state can offer a reinsurance program in order to lower rates. across the country but does not get the attention it deserves. In It is yet another example of how a state found a way to provide the legislative realm, we commonly refer to it as the expansion of assistance to help alleviate an issue with a federal program. federalism. There are a myriad of worker training programs administrated America was founded on the premise that a limited, at the federal level. I think we all would agree that what is needed in decentralized government allows for greater personal liberties California for training may not be what is needed in Wisconsin. The and a freer nation. Our Founding Fathers provided the basis Badger State has three main industries: for states’ rights through the Tenth manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Worker training programs should focus “The powers not delegated to the United on high demand fields in each individual States by the Constitution, nor prohibited state whether it is training for tourism by it to the states, are reserved to the states jobs in Florida or manufacturing jobs respectively, or to the people.” As we have in Wisconsin. We would then have the seen over time, the federal government opportunity to create more jobs at a lower has usurped power from the states and our cost, or even at the same cost, but train individual liberties have eroded resulting more individuals, faster. in a bloated national bureaucracy. Federal I believe we are at the dawn of a new regulations have impeded progress and era of federalism. While President Ronald produced a one-size-fits-all approach Reagan embraced the concept with the to governing. The “strings-attached” introduction of block grants, I believe funding from the federal government now now more than any other time in our comprises 28.3% of Wisconsin’s current nation’s history we can take the necessary All Funds Budget, which, of course, does Robin Vos steps to strengthen states’ rights. Our not take into account any unfunded federal Founding Fathers explained the necessity mandates. It is time that our country returns The new Congress and of having states act as a check on the to our federalist roots. The new Congress federal government, especially when it and President Trump need to free the states President Trump need comes to our freedom. In the Federalist of the labyrinth of government regulations to free the states of the Papers No. 28, Alexander Hamilton and give more decision-making powers labyrinth of governwrote, “It may safely be received as an back to the states. axiom in our political system, that the In 1932, U.S. Supreme Court ment regulations and State governments will, in all possible Justice Louis Brandeis declared states are give more decisioncontingencies, afford complete security laboratories of democracy and should try against invasions of the public liberty by novel experiments. In Wisconsin, these making powers back the national authority.” This pillar of our so-called experiments have paid off and to the states. past should be a building block for our many are now a model for other states. future and I look forward to working with From healthcare to welfare, our state has the Trump Administration and the members of Congress to allow lead the way with the first workers compensation program, the for the expansion of federalism. RF first unemployment insurance program and the first parental choice schools. Wisconsin has proven that states can figure out Representative Robin Vos is the 75th speaker of the Wisconsin State real solutions to the pressing problems of the day. Assembly and the President-Elect of the National Conference of When it comes to healthcare innovation, there is a neverState Legislatures. ending cycle of applications for waivers to the federal government. RIPON FORUM December 2018
Voters Deserve to Know Their Votes will Count by WAYNE WILLIAMS
The 2018 election in Colorado saw the Democrats exercise known as the Election Preparedness for take over both chambers of the legislature and all Infrastructure and Cybersecurity, or EPIC. Think of five statewide elected officers. My job as Secretary it as “war games,” election style. Nearly 200 election of State was among the losses. Despite that, it was officials and representatives of federal agencies an honor to serve and I believe strongly that we have participated in this training to prepare for a myriad of the best system of government in the world. To that scenarios that could occur on Election Day. end, voters must have faith in that I like to say that election system and deserve to know their cybersecurity is a race without votes will count. a finish line. With all of these In a recent Gallup poll, a efforts, it is no wonder that The full one-third of Americans were Washington Post and Fox News not confident that their votes are both recognized Colorado as the accurately counted. Over the last safest state to cast a vote. four years, my office has worked When it comes to the federal to adopt standards to restore the government, we work with trust of the people. One of the most them, not under them. Congress significant and public challenges would be well served to honor of the last several years has been this distinction and allow state working to guarantee the security and local governments the of Colorado’s elections. latitude they need to guarantee In 2015, under my leadership a safe election in their states. we conducted a careful and Each model is different and deliberate process resulting in this decentralized system is an new voting system standards for added layer of security. During Wayne Williams all of Colorado. New systems the 2016 and 2018 elections we in our state ensure that voters partnered with the Department of When it comes to the will have voting experience Homeland Security, the Multino matter where they live, State Information Sharing & federal government, election administrator training Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the we work with them, will be done uniformly, and FBI and the National Guard. Our not under them ... local administrators will have office also gratefully accepted more flexibility in reacting to over $6.3 million in federal Congress would be unforeseen circumstances that funding to help further bolster well served to honor might require replacement voting our cybersecurity efforts. equipment. Every ballot has a These partnerships are this distinction. verifiable paper record. valuable and should continue. Beginning in 2017, Colorado I encourage every member of became the first state in the Congress to visit their elections nation to conduct a risk-limiting audit (RLA) after offices, become familiar with their processes and each election. Through a random auditing of paper partner with election administrators to make the voting ballots, we are able to provide statistical evidence experience better for their state and districts. RF that the election outcome is correct, as well as a high probability of correcting a wrong outcome. This year, the Secretary of State’s office also held Wayne W. Williams serves as Secretary of State of a first of its kind elections and cybersecurity training Colorado. 22
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Empower, Don’t Impede, the Pioneering Spirit of the States by JACKIE WINTERS
Oregon has long been known for her pioneering we cannot make progress towards curbing these fires. spirit. In fact, the Golden Pioneer sits atop our capitol Every year the west burns, lives and natural building, symbolizing our ever forward mentality, and resources are lost, and the beauty of our landscape paying homage to those who braved the long trek on changes. Effective forest management is a must have the Oregon Trail to settle this great state so many years discussion if we ever hope to stop these massive ago. But today, Oregon is often held back by federal wildfires. If done correctly, forest management policies that don’t allow us to policies could also create good move forward to do what is best paying jobs for the thousands of for our state. Oregonians that have lost jobs One such policy decision due to the decline of the timber that greatly hindered Oregon industry. This needs to be an was the decision to list the equal partnership between state Northern Spotted Owl in the and federal agencies to ensure 1990’s. Since then, Oregon’s tangible outcomes, save lives, once thriving timber industry has and preserve our lands. been struggling. Communities States used to have more that were once booming have flexibility, and were able deteriorated, thousands of good to govern in a way that was paying jobs have been lost appropriate for each unique and not replaced. The decision state. Now, nothing is given made on a federal level had without strings attached, and the huge implications for Oregon’s guidelines and regulations that economy, and promised come along with federal grants Jackie Winters assistance with job retraining hinder progress. What works for and employment opportunities Salem, Massachusetts may not were never delivered. Oregon work for Salem, Oregon. Oregon has struggled for has struggled for years to What we need from recover from the impacts of Congress is less rhetoric years to recover from the one decision made thousands of and more results driven impacts of one decision miles from home. conversation. Less partisan Forest management has politics, and more working made thousands of miles long been a topic of great across the aisle to develop from home. debate, both on the state and policy that truly benefits all. We federal levels. Over half of need Congress to follow through Oregon is owned by the federal on the promises they make and government, and therefore managed by the federal support the communities that have been devastated government. However, when fires spark on those lands due to federal policy change. and threaten our communities and wilderness, Oregon I have always believed that we do our best work sends firefighters and equipment to battle the blazes. when we care more about good outcomes than who gets This comes with significant cost and requires Oregon the credit at the end of the day. It is time for Congress to to use resources that might be needed elsewhere in the allow states to let their pioneering spirits show. RF state to fight fire on state lands. Because the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies have Jackie Winters serves as Republican Leader of the different forest management practices than Oregon, Oregon State Senate. RIPON FORUM December 2018
Election Security: An Ongoing Responsibility by KIM WYMAN While election officials across the country finalized results home, using paper, with a verifiable record for each vote. And in and certified the 2018 General Election, Florida’s elections once 2014, design began on an updated election management system again captured the nation’s attention. As Washington State’s to synchronize voter rolls in real time, slated to go live in 2019. chief election officer, it pains me to listen to the criticism of Following partisan debate on the merits of funding my colleagues knowing the problems they face in conducting elections, Congress disbursed the remaining $380 million elections. of HAVA monies to states this year. Washington received $8 This is not a problem unique to Florida. It is the problem million to improve cybersecurity. We are fortifying our defenses facing every state, and it should sound familiar. Following the with equipment upgrades, creating a cybersecurity operations 2000 Presidential Election, with Florida’s contentious recounts center to protect Washington’s elections, and implementing and litigation, the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) a rigorous cyber-defense testing regimen and an enhanced provided over $3.8 billion to states for elections infrastructure. training program for all election officials. From 2003-2005, our country experienced an unprecedented That’s how we’re leveraging this one-time investment: upgrade of elections; most states purchased boosting our defense structures around new tabulation and voter registration systems. a voting system that gives every eligible The great challenge of elections, Washingtonian maximal access to the ballot. however, is that for too long Congress and Security measures like these are urgently many state legislatures have incorrectly needed. In 2016, Washington was one of 21 addressed staging successful elections as a states whose elections security was targeted problem that can be solved with a one-time by Russian hackers. Fortunately, our strong infusion of money. defenses prevented intrusion. We should understand the upkeep of This system cannot upgrade itself. this bastion of American democracy as an Maintaining elections security is unlike ongoing responsibility that requires agility, building a dam or wall. One-time spending, attentiveness, and responsiveness. without backfill or ongoing maintenance In 2016, the President formally spending, is an ill-informed way to approach designated elections as a critical infrastructure the true cost of critical infrastructure. It Kim Wyman sector. While this action puts elections security requires consistent training and upgrades. on the same level of importance as the power grid, it hasn’t Maintaining our elections system is not a partisan issue. stopped the partisan divide on the merits of federal funding for Democrats and Republicans, state and federal, must support elections. responsible budgeting that weighs strategic spending against the Federal assistance and support by Washington’s legislature, onerous costs that inevitably follow years of neglect. combined with strong partnerships between the Secretary A core strength of American elections is the decentralized of State’s Office and the state’s 39 counties, have helped process. No one entity has oversight over all ballot counting, Washington transform our elections over the last two decades which means there’s no single point for a bad actor to attack. in sweeping, effective, and unique ways. Our state’s lessons There are 8,000 elected or appointed officials across the country and our plans for the future can be a useful map for the great responsible for our elections. They must maintain autonomy, for challenges American elections will face in coming years. the good of the nation. Congress must understand that allocating In 2002, Congress sent Washington state more than $70 money to fund this system must remain unshackled from million in HAVA funding. Our state transitioned from punchrequirements for central control. card ballots to optical scan tabulation equipment, expanded the Washington is just one of 50 states proud of our cuttinguse of paper ballots, and improved access statewide for voters edge solutions. Election officials across the country are out there with disabilities. innovating. We must continue to share and learn best practices Next, Washington acted independently to implement four from each other. That’s only going to function optimally if our monumental elections changes. In 2006, a new statewide voternational leaders recognize that elections access and security are registration database connected the voter rolls of every county. perpetual endeavors. National leadership to support training and In 2008, we introduced online voter registration. In 2011, we information sharing within and among states will create secure completed a move to vote-by-mail elections, which gave our systems in which every American can vote with confidence. RF voters unparalleled access and ballot security. Washington voters enjoy an extended voting period to cast ballots from Kim Wyman is the Secretary of State of Washington. 24
RIPON FORUM December 2018
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