Speak out to your representatives

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 1, 2010

During the past year, you have probably noticed the growing disconnect between what Washington actually does and what the American people really want.

Not surprisingly, this divide has led the American people to be more engaged in politics today than at any other time in recent memory. However, while more individuals are making their voices heard, those few running the show in Congress have ignored their voices, pushing forward an agenda that contradicts the real priorities and needs of the American people.

For instance, when our families and businesses were trying to survive a crippling economic recession, Washington used the crisis to pass a wish list of programs designed to increase the scope and power of the federal government. When tragedy struck the Gulf Coast, Washington responded with a drilling moratorium that will eliminate thousands upon thousands of direct and indirect jobs. And now, as our country faces record deficits and high unemployment, Washington is poised to let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire, triggering the largest tax hike in American history.

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To say that Washington is broken is an understatement, and the American people have had enough. It is time to close the disconnect. To do this is quite simple — the American people speak, and the representatives chosen to serve them listen.

The founding documents of our nation declare that we, as U.S. citizens, have a vital role in shaping and maintaining our government. Mainstream America should have a strong and present voice in the direction our country is heading. Better solutions can be found by listening to the wisdom and resolve of the people. Washington needs to have a “dinner table conversation with America.” With today’s modern technology, House Republicans have made this critical discussion possible by launching an innovative project called America Speaking Out.

America Speaking Out was created with a key goal in mind — to engage the American people so a new agenda can be crafted that accurately reflects their priorities. As part of this effort, the Web site, www.AmericaSpeakingOut.com, was developed to provide a means for this important dialogue between Americans and their representative in Congress to take place. On the site, all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, can submit solutions, register their opinion on ideas, debate priorities and join their family, friends and neighbors across the country in contributing to a revolutionary exchange of ideas.

Through this online, nationwide engagement, House Republicans are able to seek priceless input from back home in an open and transparent manner, essentially opening up the back rooms of Congress to the kitchens across our nation.

While all topics are welcome, America Speaking Out has firm priorities that continue to be heard, such as:

4Congress focusing on private-sector job creation and creating an environment that fosters economic growth;

4Reverting back to the checks and balances system our forefathers envisioned, and not a Congress that disregards debate and opposition;

4Addressing concerns on the powers of the federal and state government, excessive Washington spending and outrageous debt;

4Holding Congress accountable and asking them to act with transparency and integrity;

4Ensuring Congress’ dedication to keep Americans safe at home and abroad;

4Finding a solution to the health care reform.

Through America Speaking Out, I believe the American people can and will be heard. Our government stands on the principle “By the People, For the People.” It’s high time that Washington truly acted for the people with approval by the people. As Members of Congress, it is our duty to vote in Washington the way our constituencies would vote if they were here.

America Speaking Out is an interactive and efficient way to get involved through debate and suggestion. Once you speak, we must listen. Your participation is vital to carve a new path for our nation, as well as to ensure that Congress makes decisions in accordance with the real challenges facing the American people. No matter your party affiliation, reach out and speak up. You will be heard.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander is a Republican representing Louisiana.