A Retiring Six-Term Congressman Reveals How Congress Really Works-And What We Must Do to Fix It
ISBN10: 0316699128 ISBN13: 9780316699129 Contributors: Garrett, Major Publisher: Little Brown & Co Published: Apr 1 1995 Pages: 262 Weight: 1.10lbs. Height: 9.50" Width: 6.75" Depth: 1.25" Language: English
After twelve years in Congress, with his political stock rising in Washington and still wildly popular in his home district in Minnesota, Representative Timothy Penny did the unthinkable: he decided not to seek reelection. He was fed up with a Congress whose lawmakers spend more than the country can afford, allow serious problems to fester, and abandon policies they know are right merely because pollsters tell them they're unpopular. Having worked tirelessly for a dozen years to reform profligate government spending from the inside, Penny decided to leave and to pursue change from the outside.
In Common Cents, Timothy Penny tells us just how badly damaged the institution of Congress is - and what we, as voters, must do to repair it. It is a candid account that could only have been written by a congressman who has been behind the closed doors, taken part in the daily battles, and seen how totally Congress is held in the thrall of partisanship, special interests, polls and careerism. Penny explains how powerful members of Congress have the power to stop any bill - no matter how popular - from becoming law. He reveals, from personal experience, how special interest groups successfully influence legislators to shut down valuable initiatives. And he shows how politicians cynically enact laws that have no impact, giving the appearance of making responsible decisions while in fact preserving the status quo.
The 1994 elections were a loud cry of disgust with Congress. Common Cents shows how right the voters are to be disgusted - and how deeply entrenched the cultures are that will keep Congress from changing, unless voters work to make it more open, responsive, and accountable.
Readers can use Common Cents as a guide to effecting change. Penny details dozens of ways that individual voters can make a difference, including providing guidelines for evaluating candidates and for making sure elected officials hear voters' voices and respond.
Every reader who wants an effective, responsive Congress will value this impassioned expose and heartfelt call for change from a man who went to Washington and left before he lost his integrity.