Thursday, May 21, 2009

BREAKING: McDonnell/Bolling Support Bipartisan Redistricting & Two-Term Governor – Includes Full Text

NO Gitmo detainees in Virginia says Lt. Governor Bill Bolling – “let other states take them.” 

Bob McDonnell, Republican candidate for Governor and Bill Bolling incumbent Lt. Governor both now support bipartisan redistricting that will include “some measure of citizen input.” On a press conference dubbed as the “McDonnell-Bolling Open & Honest Government Plan” this afternoon McDonnell said he changed his mind and now calls for “bipartisan redistricting.”

McDonnell also revealed support for a TWO-term Governor and when questioned by press if the two-terms would begin with his own term as Governor if elected he said, “it would begin with a Governor Bolling.”

Both McDonnell & Bolling called for more transparency in political campaigns. A BBB (Better Business Bureau) of campaign claims that would serve as an independent fact-checking agency. It would bring “civility” though he patronized the press on the conference call saying “that the press does some of it.”

McDonnell and Bolling advocated for “government of the the people by the people” throughout the press conference. Emphasizing a refocus on openness, trust and accountability in government that would get people more involved. McDonnell said of government, “it should not be a spectator sport.”

McDonnell advocated for streaming video of the executive branch and commissions just as this years streaming video was implemented for the General Assembly and Senate Session for the first time.

McDonnell calls for a nonpartisan effort for more transparency in government. He also promised easy access and disclosure of  lobbyists activities that would include campaign contributions both monetary and entertainment perks.

The entire remarks of  the “McDonnell-Bolling Open & Honest Government Plan” follow:

Richmond- Bob McDonnell, Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Attorney General of Virginia, and Bill Bolling, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, announced their joint good government proposals today in a conference call with Virginia press. Titled: Open and Honest Government “Good for Citizens, Good for Job Creation”, the far-reaching plan is highlighted by support of bipartisan redistricting, a ban on political contributions to executive branch officials during the procurement process, the institution of true budget transparency modeled on the states of Missouri and Texas, creation of a watchdog commission to identify and eliminate waste in state agencies, greater lobbyist disclosure and establishment of a Working Mom Government Simplicity Task Force.

                    Speaking about the issue of good government McDonnell noted, “The citizens of Virginia are the owners of our state government. They must know how their government is operating and what their money is being used for. They must have confidence in the workings of government, and broad access to its decision making processes. Taxpayers are investors in government. They should be treated as such. Greater transparency in Richmond will mean a stronger government, greater citizen trust and involvement and a better-run Commonwealth that will help to lay the foundations for job creation and economic prosperity.”

                    Regarding specific proposals in the package, McDonnell stated, “In a McDonnell-Bolling Administration we will institute true budget transparency, based on what has been done in Missouri and Texas. It will be easy to use, simple to navigate and an online resource that will put every citizen a mouse click away from items in our state budget. And we will establish a government performance commission that will review state agencies, and make recommendations on the elimination of any waste it finds.”

                    “Additionally, I have followed the robust debate over redistricting for a long while. I have spoken to leaders in both parties, and been briefed extensively by various groups involved in this important public policy discussion. I do believe that we need to institute bipartisan redistricting to ensure greater citizen involvement, and the vigorous exercise of democracy that is the prerequisite for successful government. To achieve a bipartisan redistricting provess I will establish a bipartisan commission comprised of Virginia citizens who have not held any elected office for at least 10 years.”

                 McDonnell finished, “Finally, during my kickoff tour I spoke about the need to get greater input from the one group of  individuals who can probably best tell us how government could make life easier, and be easier to navigate: Virginia’s mothers. The credit goes to my wife Maureen. I’ve watched her struggle with permits, stickers, fees and paperwork while raising our five children. I will create a Working Mom Government Simplicity Task Force that will be tasked with making recommendations for the simplification of Virginia’s state government.”

Speaking about the joint proposal, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling stated, “Government is supposed to work for the people of Virginia, but sometimes it works against the people of Virginia.  These commonsense reforms will help us make government more responsive to citizens and give citizens greater confidence in their government. Bob McDonnell and I are committed to doing everything we can to simplify government and make it more transparent and efficient.  That’s the kind of leadership the people of Virginia are looking for, and that’s the kind of leadership we will provide.”

           Over the course of the upcoming months McDonnell and Bolling will hold a series of “Good Government” town halls statewide, to seek further citizen input as to how Virginia’s government can better serve its owners.

 The McDonnell-Bolling Open & Honest Government Plan

“Good for Citizens, Good for Job Creation”

Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling will provide open, transparent, and accountable government. Taxpayers and voters are the owners of our government agencies and their assets.  It is imperative that we provide Virginians with the opportunity to participate more in how their government operates, and have a greater ability to monitor the activities of their elected and appointed officials.

For democracy to work effectively citizens must have a high level of confidence and trust in their government and those elected to represent them.  Bob McDonnell is also committed to dramatically reducing any waste or inefficiencies when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.  An effective state government is essential to providing excellent services to our Virginia families while ensuring that they keep more of the money they earn.

 Trust and Accountability

Ban political contributions during procurement process – Taxpayers must be able to trust that state and local officials are making decisions about awarding government contracts based only on price, quality and experience. This ban will be placed on gifts to the executive branch and be limited to contracts over a certain amount. The prohibition would go into effect during the post-bid submission decision making process. This proposal parallels the prohibitions placed on the legislative branch during the General Assembly session.

Lobbyist disclosure reform – Citizensshould have more detailed information about issues and activities in which paid lobbyists are involved. Bob McDonnell will have legislation introduced that requires disclosure of the specific bills and procurement matters that lobbyists are working on, as well as information about entertainment expenses related to those matters.

Independent state ethics commission – Virginia is one of only 10 states without an independent ethics commission.  Bob McDonnell will establish a permanent, statewide independent agency that will provide advice and research as well as evaluate complaints concerning elected officials and appointees to boards, commissions and other public bodies.

Live video streaming of public meetings – The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate provide live video and audio access to their floor votes and debate during each session of the General Assembly.  We have the technological resources to open up executive board and commission meetings to this same type of public access.  Bob McDonnell will have legislation introduced requiring all major executive branch boards and commissions to provide live streaming video on the Commonwealth’s website.  Video files will be archived so that citizens can view them at their convenience. Important decisions affecting Virginia families and businesses are made at executive boards and commissions, and citizens should have the opportunity to see the discussions, debates and votes made by these bodies, whether they live in Richmond, Vienna or Tazewell.

Transparency in Government – Taxpayers deserve to know more about how their tax dollars are used. With the recent budget shortfall approaching nearly four billion dollars, and billions in federal stimulus money flowing to Virginia, citizens should be provided easy access to information on where and for what programs their money is being spent. As Governor, Bob McDonnell will improve Virginia government transparency and set new standards for accountability.

Bob McDonnell will implement upgrades to the Virginia budget online searchable database to make it more user-friendly, interactive, and transparent, using Texas and Missouri as a model for transparency and ease of use.

 Increasing Voter Participation and Awareness

Bipartisan Redistricting – Whether through legislation or a Blue Ribbon Governor’s panel, Bob McDonnell will ensure bipartisan citizen involvement in the state legislative and Congressional district redistricting process in 2010-2011.  Legislative districts must be drawn in a way that maximizes voter participation and awareness and lines should reflect commonsense geographic boundaries and a strong community of interests.  This bipartisan commission, comprised of Virginia citizens who have not held any elected office for at least 10 years, will select its own non-partisan chair and will provide the citizens with access to the process through public meetings, proposed maps online, and a website that will allow public comment and interaction in this important process. 

Two-Term Governor – Virginia is the only state in America that limits its Governors to one term in office without an opportunity for re-election to a consecutive term.  While we have been fortunate to have many outstanding Republican and Democratic Governors in our history, Virginia voters should have the ability to voice their support or opposition to the policies, programs and priorities of the top elected position in the Commonwealth.  Virginia voters can make an informed choice on the performance of an incumbent Governor.

Independent Campaign Fact Checker – Bob McDonnell will work with the education, business, and media communities to identify an independent, third party organization (non-governmental body) to run objective “fact checks” on political advertisements and direct mail for statewide campaigns.  This organization would be based upon the model of the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division that reviews advertising for truth and accuracy.  To preserve our democracy, we must have more civility and candor during political campaigns to better serve the electorate.

Judicial Appointment Reform – Virginia has a long tradition of judicial excellence.  Many of our local and state judges have gone on to serve in the federal court system. However, the process of selecting judges by the Virginia General Assembly is a mystery to most citizens. Citizens must be given access and information about the judicial appointment and reappointment process so that they can voice their opinions to their elected representatives about the men and women who will serve on the bench.

In some parts of the state, such as Fairfax and Virginia Beach, the local bar or a citizens merit selection panel interviews those interested in serving as judges, sending a list of recommendations to local legislators. These existing processes should serve as a guide for the rest of the state.  As Governor, Bob McDonnell will encourage every district to form such groups to make recommendations to legislators on judicial appointments. Selections must be made on merit and ability to perform and not political connections.

Similar procedures must be in place for judicial reappointment. Until 2002 there was no uniform mechanism for General Assembly members to use when considering reappointments to the bench. Complaints arose over the lack of accountability because legislators had no clear criteria for objectively rating judge’s performance and suitability for reappointment. As Chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee in the House of Delegates, McDonnell introduced legislation to implement landmark reforms. He worked with the Supreme Court to create the program for judicial performance evaluation in 2002, and by 2005 established a fully-funded statewide judicial performance evaluation system for all the states’ judges.

Unfortunately, this necessary and innovative program was stopped this year. As Governor, Bob McDonnell will improve the judicial performance evaluation system and put the system back on track to ensure competence, objectivity and accountability in the judicial branch.

 Eliminating Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Government Performance Commission and Strengthened Internal Auditor – The Commission shall be established to review all major state agencies and boards on an eight-year cycle and advise the General Assembly on the elimination of waste, duplication, and inefficiency on the part of such agencies. It will consist of 14 members, including six members of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker, four members of the Senate to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, the Lieutenant Governor and three citizen members appointed by the Governor. Unlike JLARC, which reviews certain agencies when charged by the General Assembly, the Commission will conduct a continual review of state government.

Texas established a Sunset Advisory Commission in 1977 with similar authority, and the commission has saved the state nearly $750 million between 1982 and 2003, compared to spending just $20 million on the Commission.

Bob McDonnell will transform the State Internal Auditor into an Inspector General with enhanced authority to proactively pursue citizen complaints concerning fraud, waste and abuse in state government. Currently, the system is primarily designed for state employees to utilize the fraud, waste and abuse hotline.  As all Virginians regularly interact with state government, Bob McDonnell will ensure that the hotline is accessible to local government officials and citizens to report suspected misuse of taxpayer resources.

Working Mom Government Simplicity Task Force – We all see the extremely busy lives mothers face every day. They balance children, work and home. They need a Governor who understands the challenges and who looks for solutions to make life easier when it comes to dealing with the government. By Executive Order, Bob McDonnell will establish a Working Mom Government Simplicity Task Force to evaluate the need for and procedures governing all the permits, licenses, stickers, decals, registrations and certificates that government requires. Each usually requires a citizen to go to an office to wait in line, fill out a form and pay a fee. We must make changes by employing simplified procedures and technology.

State Manager Performance Pay – Bob McDonnell will establish a pilot program for performance pay for state managers. This performance pay program will be aimed at controlling state spending, incentivizing excellent performance and maintaining a high quality level of service to the people of the Commonwealth.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2009, Politics, State Politics

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