Americans want, need, and demand a greater voice in government.
The best way is through initiative and referendum, where citizens can vote directly on important issues, propose serious reforms, and check the power of politicians and special interests.
Wonder about the state of your state’s initiative rights? Well, Citizens in Charge Foundation — the sponsor of this program — has just released a comprehensive 50-state report card.
Most states get failing grades. Why? Most provide no way for citizens to put issues on the ballot — or their legislators have regulated the process they do have into near oblivion.
New Jersey got a D for its lack of statewide initiative. But last year’s upset winner for governor, Chris Christie, campaigned on bringing the initiative process to the Garden State. He can’t do much without a cooperative legislature, but he’s promised to use his bully pulpit to focus the public on putting pressure on their representatives.
On a recent “Ask the Governor” radio program there were 50 emails from citizens urging Christie on. Last week, I met with a large group of concerned citizens organizing the grassroots effort.
It won’t be easy to overcome the powerful political forces in New Jersey — or in any other state. But if you believe in self-government, in restoring common sense to governance, stand up: Fight for your initiative rights.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.