Contract From America: A Tea Party-Fueled Attempt to Be Heard
A Houston lawyer looks to turn legislation back into a bottom-up process.
October 6, 2009 - 12:00 am
Last month, a new effort to reconnect the populace with its public servants was launched: Contract From America.
This consultation exercise aims to gather ideas from the public on laws they would like to see passed or eliminated. The ideas will be boiled down to three in each policy area by a panel of tea party activists from all over the nation and then submitted to political leaders.
Considering the arrogance displayed by many members of Congress towards their constituents and their wishes, this project intends to make them aware of just how driven people are to see a change in governmental behavior.
An interview with Ryan Hecker, the head of Contract From America:
AD: What prompted you to create this project?
RH: In the past, public policy has been entirely a top-down affair. Politicians work with consultants and others to create public policy initiatives, for which the electorate either show support by re-electing the politician or reject by choosing his opponent. However, we have seen over the past decade that politicians have largely been bereft of economically conservative ideas. I created this website because I strongly believe that the citizenry has a lot of ideas to offer to politicians if given the chance to speak and make an impact. We no longer have to sit passively as politicians present their ideas to us. We can all help in creating a Contract From America that we can use to direct public policy in 2010 and beyond.
AD: What is your background and how did you come to this sort of activism?
RH: I am an attorney in Houston, Texas, and a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School. While I have long been a fan of free markets and limited government, I had limited political involvement until 2007, when I left my job at a New York law firm to join the Giuliani for President campaign. I strongly supported him because of his success in turning around New York City by adhering to economically conservative principles. However, in the months leading up to the 2008 election, I felt the Republican Party as a whole had abandoned such core principles of fiscal responsibility, and thus had abandoned me. I knew I had to do something, and like many fellow free market supporters, I joined the tea party movement. It is so wonderful being part of something greater than myself, and I think this movement is going to spearhead real reform.