Washington D.C. Group Chooses Oklahoma For 'Citizen Cabinet' Initiative
TULSA, Oklahoma - With elections on our doorstep, a group out of Washington D.C. wants to give citizens a direct pipeline to their lawmakers.
How'd you like to take a shot at slashing the federal deficit or fixing social security?
I talked with the director of Voice of the People, which selected Oklahoma as one of three states where it wants to create a citizen cabinet.
Jennifer Loren: "Do you feel like, we the people, that our voices are being heard?"
Tulsa resident, Ronnie Taylor: "Absolutely not."
A quick, totally unscientific poll of Tulsa citizens, asking how Congress is doing, reveals exactly what you might think.
Jennifer Loren: "Do you think they're working functionally, as they should?"
Lecia Hate: "No."
"They seem ineffective and don't work with each other,” said Tulsa resident, Bill Curry.
"Seems like we're caught in a, a state of such bipartisan and not getting anything done for the people,” Tulsa resident, Kara Biden said. “And it's all about them and not us."
Tulsans are not alone, scientific national polls reflect similar feelings.
Steven Kull is President of a group called Voice of the People. He said Americans everywhere are fed up.
"People are very dissatisfied with government and they feel that the people are being marginalized, that the vision of the founders of a government guided by the people is not what's happening. It's government by special interests,” Kull said.
His group is working to reconnect Americans with their Congressmen and women with an initiative starting right here in Oklahoma, called the Citizen Cabinet.
Soon, Oklahomans everywhere will get a letter asking them to participate, and a diverse group of 900 Oklahomans will be chosen to participate in an online questionnaire.
If they don't have the Internet they'll be given access.
They'll be given policy making simulations, where they'll hear the issues Congress is facing, the choices they are being given, and then be able to tell Congress what they would do.
"We're trying to put you in the shoes of the policy-makers so that you're input really's going to make a difference,” Kull said. “Because it's really targeted, oriented right at the choices Congress is making."
Kull said all of the simulations will be vetted by congressional staffers from both parties and that it's a totally bipartisan effort.
"We as an organization are not taking a position on the issues. We're giving the people a chance to get a better understanding and then give their input into the decisions Congress is making,” Kull said.
He said the hope is our Congressmen will use the results, the voices of 900 Oklahomans, to steer policy decisions in the direction their constituents want, rather than what special interest groups want.
"Members of Congress really do want to know what their constituents think,” said Kull.
Voice of the People is starting with three states, Oklahoma a conservative state, Maryland, a liberal state and Virginia, a moderate state.
If it's a success, they hope to expand the citizen cabinet to every single congressional district in the country.