In less than 48 hours, we will meet to choose the Republican candidate for Speaker. We face a challenging decision in a political climate that has changed rapidly in just a few short weeks.
Reform of our House rules and improvements in our ethics laws have suddenly become very fashionable topics. I am not a “johnny-come-lately” to this discussion. I spoke out loud and clear for change when it wasn’t front page news.
I do believe we must embrace change at this moment. Ours should be a Caucus of inclusion and openness. Every member should be treated with respect and valued for their input. Strong leaders should not feel threatened by good ideas and must be willing to give credit where it is due.
Let me remind you, I advocated a year ago for abolishing the “hawk” system. I stood up for changes that would abolish Rules Committee substitutes and curtailing the use of rules that limit the ability to offer amendments and restrict floor debate.
I know I have the commitment and I hope I have the credibility to enact these and other needed internal reforms.
There is a growing clamor for ethics reform. We, as Republicans, can and must lead the way on this issue. Many good and useful ideas have been offered in the past few days. However, this is a serious issue and I, for one, do not think a 6-day caucus campaign is the appropriate way to develop a sensible and solid plan. If you honor me with your nomination on Thursday, we will get to work on putting together a legislative package with input from all of you that we as the Republican caucus can unify around come session.
We cannot legislate good behavior. However, we can lead by example. I will set specific rules for the Speaker’s office: lobbyists will not be permitted past the reception room without an appointment; the office will not be used as a private dining room; the office will be open to members and their constituents; and, I will meet regularly with the news media.
As I have said before and will say again and again: we must embrace the newness of the day or be perished to political irrelevance.
As always, please call me if you have any questions.