Term Limits Discussion and explanation of my platform for US Senate.
My name is Heidi Wellman and I am a Republican Candidate for US Senate in 2018 from Massachusetts. I am a hybrid home-grown candidate. My father was a staff sergeant in the US Marine Corps. He met my mother in Genova, Italy and waited two years to marry her so that she would immigrate legally to the US in 1963. She loved this country and became a naturalized US Citizen as many immigrants often are committed to assimilating the US as their new home.
I am from Massachusetts, grew up here, attended and graduated from Rockland High School in 1983. In 1987 I graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, MA where my field of study was Political Science. I have lived throughout the Commonwealth from Franklin County to Plymouth County and have an understanding of the cultural nuances of each region along with the variety of needs and priorities. I have witnessed the successful transformation of Easthampton from a former mill town to the thriving business community with the mill town soul and fostering innovation for the future. Easthampton is in Hampden County and in the shadow of Mount Tom. It has developed a cultural district and renovated the Manham Rail Trail. Innovation is what makes Massachusetts special. Our greatest resource is our collective brainpower. We are continually reinventing ourselves to adjust to changes. In fact, we are often the catalyst of change.
The five foundations of democracy are the principles of SOCIAL EQUALITY, MAJORITY RULE, MINORITY RIGHTS, FREEDOM, and INTEGRITY. The common basis is in the ethical principle of mutual respect for diversity. Fundamentally, to function, there should be equal access to political participation. I am here to address the fifth principle: INTEGRITY. Integrity is about honesty and passion as well as the absence of corruption.
Our system of government empowers us to choose our leaders through a competitive process of elections and hold them accountable. Our Constitution relates certain powers to regional government while others are delegated to the national government. It is one of the separation of powers that restricts abuse of power. We utilize a federal system whereupon any power NOT granted to the federal government with the constitution are granted to the states. This power struggle is often a source of conflict and has led to war between states in our short history. It is, nevertheless, a healthy relationship struggle, unlike obstructionism.
I am going to focus on three points of my campaign: WHY/ What/ and HOW. Firstly, WHY am I running for this office? I have been active in local politics behind the scenes volunteering in local elections since I was 14 in Rockland and serving on town boards. Many of us serve our community in anonymity. People who are task setters and achievement driven often do not seek public attention. My entire life I knew that I would make myself available should the opportunity present itself to make a difference rather than to garnish public attention and feed an ego. In January this year, the incumbent Senior Senator from Massachusetts announced she would not work with the new administration. I recognized the call of duty. Refusing to work with coworkers and insubordination at any job is grounds for dismissal. We are the employers of our elected official. The elected officials represent us. We deserve a representative in the House and Senate who represents our interests and recognizes that all the power and influence in that position stems from the people who enable the honor of serving us. As your US Senator, I will find a way to work together as a team with the others even when we don’t agree on issues and have to find compromises. We don’t have to like the people we work with but we are expected to get the job done. The incumbent’s voting record is a testament that she is blocking every effort of the current administration. She needs to be replaced. As voters, you have that power to replace her in 2018. Obstructionism is overt disrespect for diversity. It is contrary to the common ethical basis of democracy. It is disrespectful to the voters to refuse to fulfill the job as an elected official to serve and represent the interest of the voters rather than self-interest. Self-interest is not honest and it is an argument of corruption. Integrity compromised cannot be rehabilitated. As your senator, my single job and singular interest is to represent the people of Massachusetts and respect the diversity of ideologies and cultures within the Commonwealth.
“At the root of the permanent political class is a profound sense of arrogance.” Is a quote by Peter Schweitzer in his 2011 book “How Politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips, land deals and cronyism that would send most of us to prison.” In my travels around the state, I hear people agree that Washington is corrupt but they feel helpless. That is why I am stepping forward with a plan.
My competitors will boast about their past achievements and offer empty promises to fight for you and cut taxes. These arguments of not new to any candidacy. None have presented a defined plan of action. To instigate effective change in the government we are MORE effective working within the system and uniting an alliance of like-minded displaced elected officials. There are many who are trying to pool together their influence in Congress to make changes but they are not as noisy as the ones trying to maintain the status quo. We don’t need more noisy, emotional politicians screeching in protest. We need more level headed task masters. My goal is to MAKE THE SENATE WORK FOR YOU.
Specifically, I am a supporter of HJ RES 6 proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to limit the number of terms that a member of Congress may serve. This initiative was introduced January 13, 2017, by Representative Ron DeSantis (r-FL 6th district) and Senator Ted Cruz (R- TX). Ted Cruz said, “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions”. In support of this joint resolution between the US House and US Senate to end Political Homesteading are: Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE); Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI); Senator Thom Tillis (R – NC); Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator David Purdue (R-GA). This isn’t the first attempt at making changes toward term limits. An earlier version of this joint resolution was HJ RES 49 which died in committee.
Similarly, HJ RES 89 from the 114th congressional session proposed an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to the EQUAL APPLICATION TO THE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LAWS THAT APPLY TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES. This was likewise introduced by Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL 6th district) on April 20, 2016. It was not enacted, died in committee and was cleared from the books. Likewise, this was not the first attempt as he previously initiated the same joint resolution on August 1, 2013, as HJ RES 55 in the 113th congressional session which had died in committee.
By requiring our Congress to live up to HIGHER STANDARDS of INTEGRITY and by restriction of power we can limit the cycle of corruption. Corruption is power and influence gained in Congress over a long period of time and tempting our elected officials to base votes and policies on political self-interest. Through limitations and setting firm boundaries, we will hold our elected officials accountable and the position of lawmaker can resume the integrity of civic duty and not a career choice. People motivated to serve in Congress should do so for noble reasons not for the opportunity of money.
Establishing term limits and holding our elected officials accountable will discourage stagnation and encourage fresh ideas. One or two individuals at Capitol Hill are not effectively able to make change but when united with common goals can persuade others to behave ethically and make the right choices for the right reasons. Term limits will encourage more participation and increase citizens willing to run for office. We all agree we need more worthy candidates to run for office yet there are many obstacles to taking that risk. Rather than encourage candidates to participate in the process, too often they are ignored or ridiculed for daring to take a risk. It takes courage to try and upset an incumbent. If the term of office was limited then more people may be willing to take that risk. The current political parties would have to reflect how to attract and support those new candidates or potentially lose them to potentially rising third parties. It would allow for less focus on political fundraising to win an election and stay in office and more focus on facilitating democracy.
My plan as elected U S Senator is to work with the legislators already trying to make changes in Washington for the common purpose of establishing accountability at the legislative arm of government. Together we will increase the expectations and standards of elected officials to remove the stigma of corruption and ensure the integrity of office. I would support the current joint resolutions mentions and continue to reintroduce them when needed in addition to introducing similar thematic legislation.
The question remains HOW. My campaign is a true grass roots effort. As a middle-class American living in the Bay State my entire life and working full time I don’t have the political machinery but I do have the TIME and PATIENCE to travel and listen to the people of this commonwealth. I am trying to show others that hard work at the grass roots level with old fashioned canvassing can still prevail over arm’s length campaign strategies of mass advertising and pay to play politics. I grew up with old fashioned campaigning and by setting a campaign budget at a modest $2M I want to prove that it is still possible. As middle-class workers, we have to live within our budgets and I have a clear goal to show it can be achieved without constant fundraising. Your vote is worth more to me than your cash donation. If you cannot vote, for any reason, please tell people you know who can vote. Please support my efforts in the 2018 mid-term election cycle. Peter Schweitzer wrote: Public officials have a fiduciary duty to the public and they must separate themselves from anything given to them while serving in this fiduciary duty. The incumbent has lost touch with her roots here and many of my competitors have as well. Appealing to emotional argument, protest and developed self-serving arrogance is not constructive. According to Peter Schweitzer, this arrogance is the politician’s belief that if we restrict his/her ability to engage in legal graft, the nation will suffer because we won’t be able to attract bright people – like them – to run the country. I believe the opposite is true. By setting boundaries and limiting the legislative terms we will attract more participation and hold those candidates and elected officials to a higher standard and integrity.
In business, we know that anyone is expendable and our state, our nation, deserves to replace insubordinate elected officials with someone who has a clear plan in representing the interests of the state while working together with friends and adversaries professionally with a common goal to MAKE THE SENATE WORK FOR YOU. Please vote for me. Thank you.
Heidi M. Wellman