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Plan 11: Restore Trust in Madison

Summary

People across Wisconsin are angry at career politicians in both political parties who spend us into debt, don't listen to the people, and do not govern by the Constitution. People are standing up and saying enough is enough. They want the good old boy system to end. They do not want a government that provides bailouts to those at the top; purchases the allegiance of those at the bottom with handouts thereby creating a permanent and perpetually dependent underclass; and they stick the middle class with the bill. The people of Wisconsin want a responsive, transparent, and accessible government that serves the people; not the special interests. Now is the time for government to get its house in order and return to a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Pass Term Limits to Make Politics a Public Service, not a Career

Mark Neumann's plan includes term limits, so we can stop the 'good old boy' system.


Passing term limits is very important for stopping career politicians and breaking up the good old boy network. Mark Neumann proposes term limits for all state legislators and constitutional offices including Governor. As Governor, Neumann pledges to serve no more than two full terms in office, and would encourage the legislature to implement similar measures. See Mark Neumann's FOREWORD for more information. Our founders intended for there to be citizen legislators, not career politicians.

Make State Government Truly Transparent

Mark Neumann will push for a sweeping overhaul of the outdated, and often opaque, legislative process in the Wisconsin legislature. 21st century technology can help bring politics out of the backrooms and into the daylight so the people know what's going on and what their elected officials are doing. This overhaul will allow the citizens of Wisconsin to become more actively engaged in their government by being able to see bills days before they are voted on, having the opportunity to participate in a fair referendum process, and to know which interest groups are behind the bills that are coming up for a vote.

Focus on Issues, not Fundraising

Mark Neumann will not raise campaign funds from December 1PstP of the year before a budget bill is introduced, until after the bill is signed into law. This will deter any perception of "special deals" or improprieties in the state's already troubled budget process. Neumann will also push for similar reforms for legislative officers and state government employees.

Make Government "For the People"

Neumann will support popular referendum for statewide ballots, as long as they are proportional in each county of the state.

Current Situation

Legislative Action without Constituent Input

The Wisconsin Legislature has developed a habit of passing massive and costly pieces of legislation in the dead of night, often before the public has had any chance to review or comment on what is being passed. This tactic has been used by career politicians in both parties, and is often utilized when controversial bills need to be passed quickly to avoid scrutiny from constituents and the media.

Example: Wisconsin's 2009 - 2011 Budget1

Most of the real work of coming up with the two-year, $62.2 billion spending plan happened in secret, outside of public view. Many of the parts that were public, like voting on changes that had been worked out by committee members in secret, were done late at night far after the time publicly stated for when the action was supposed to happen.

Politics is Becoming a Career Path

Today, 37 of the 99 (37.4%) seats in the Wisconsin Assembly,2 and 15 of the 33 (45.5%) seats in the Wisconsin Senate3 have been held by the same elected official for a decade or more. Many in Madison have chosen to make politics a lifetime career, instead of a short-term public service.

Mark Neumann's Plan

Make State Government Truly Transparent

Neumann will work with the various agencies and elected bodies involved in the legislative process to craft a plan that will allow Wisconsinites to have a better look at what goes on in the government they pay for. Under this plan, Neumann will make Wisconsin a model for government transparency.

The Five Day Rule

As Governor, Mark Neumann will call on the Legislature to amend its rules to require the text of any major spending proposal be available online for review by the public for at least five days before it is voted on.

The Legislature should not be allowed to make laws binding on everyone when members have not even read the bill. Mark Neumann relates his experience defeating this practice while in Congress.


Voter ID

As Governor, Mark Neumann will call on the legislature to pass a law requiring voters to have photo identification on hand when they vote and register to vote.

Bring Government to the People

An open and transparent government requires more than just making information available and hoping people seek it out. As Governor, Mark Neumann will work to communicate the way you communicate, and go to where you are. Neumann will adopt innovative ideas and technologies to increase involvement of the citizens with their government.

Main Street Visits and Town Hall Meetings

Mark Neumann visited local business owners, employees, and citizens in over 80 communities in the first seven months of 2010. Neumann also conducted many open town hall forums with interested community members where he presented his plan for Wisconsin, took questions, and listened to ideas.

As Governor, Mark Neumann will continue to visit main streets in communities all around Wisconsin and host open town hall meetings.

Online and Social Media

Mark Neumann will adapt to the latest communication methods in order to maintain an open discourse with Wisconsin citizens. Many Wisconsinites participate in online forums and social networking. Neumann will take advantage of every opportunity to engage the citizens of Wisconsin by remaining active on the popular social networks and online forums.

Mark Neumann's campaign for governor is one of the most innovative campaigns in the country when it comes to online engagement and collaboration. The MarkForGov.com website has a built-in social network designed to engage voters with the campaign, empower them to support Mark Neumann in the way they feel is best, and communicate and organize with other supporters. The Neumann campaign is actively involved in Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, FourSquare, LiveStream, Facebook, and other online locations where the citizens of Wisconsin interact.

As of this writing, Mark Neumann's campaign has more than 50,000 Facebook Fans–more than any other Republican campaign for Governor in America. He regularly communicates with his Facebook Fans personally reading their comments and questions and posting videos of himself answering their questions. As Governor, Mark Neumann will continue to use Facebook as a way to get unfiltered opinions of people across Wisconsin.

Citizen Involvement

As Governor, Mark Neumann will look for new ways that citizens can be involved in improving government. Borrowing on the mass collaboration model of Wikipedia or open source software, Neumann will make some draft legislation available online in a collaborative website for the citizens of Wisconsin to comment on and edit. This "Open Legislation Development" model gives every person an opportunity to contribute to the legislation, and the influence a person has on the legislation is only limited by their own dedication and ability. The resulting legislation will be representative of all the participants, include arguments and support for both sides of every issue, and solve the presented problem in a way that is best for Wisconsin.4

Focus on Issues, not Fundraising

To deter any real or perceived influence that campaign donations have on the biennial state budget process, Governor Mark Neumann will not raise campaign funds from December 1st of the year before the budget bill is introduced, until after the budget is signed into law. Neumann will ask legislative leaders to adhere to the same self-regulation. Neumann will also propose the following:

  • Prohibit donations to all incumbent Legislative and Constitutional officials from a business at any time while that business's bid for a contract is being considered by any state government agency.
  • Prohibit department heads that Neumann directly appoints from contributing to his campaign, as well as organizing, hosting or participating in fundraising efforts for the Governor's campaign committee while in his administration.

Make Government "For the People"

An increasingly common complaint of Wisconsin citizens is that government ignores their calls for reform. As Governor, Mark Neumann will support allowing citizens to bring initiatives and referenda before all voters via a statewide ballot. In order to appear on the ballot, a percentage of supporting petition signatures from eligible citizens will be collected in a proportionate amount from every county.

Support Wisconsin Term Limits

To encourage both increased public participation in elections and a return to a true, responsive citizen government, Mark Neumann supports term limits for all Constitutional and Legislative offices:

  • Three Terms for Governor and all Constitutional Offices (12 Years)
  • Three Terms for State Senators (12 Years)
  • Six Terms for State Representatives (12 years)

In Congress, Mark Neumann voted repeatedly for term limits. As Governor, Neumann will use the office to push the agenda for term limits.

Mark Neumann's Record

Principled Fiscal Conservative

Mark Neumann has first-hand experience fighting for transparency and honesty in politics. When Neumann was a freshmen member of the U.S. Congress, all members were given 'talking points' on proposed bills as a substitute for reading the entire bill. They were told that 'pork' didn't exist in the bills, and they didn't have to read the bill text. Neumann and other freshman Republicans decided to follow Reagan's maxim of "Trust, but Verify." They read the bills, and found that pork barrel spending had been actually inserted. The career politicians had attempted to remove transparency and accountability from the legislative process in order to sneak their pork past the honest fiscal conservatives. Neumann did not allow them to destroy the democratic process. As Governor, Mark Neumann will fight such practices at every turn.


1 Scott Bauer, Wisconsin Budget Process Done Mostly in Secret, Associated Press, available at http://www.thestreet.com/story/10515386/1/wisconsin-budget-process-done-mostly-in-secret.html.

2 Members of Wisconsin Assembly by Year First Elected, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_State_Assembly#Members.

3 Members of Wisconsin Senate by Year First Elected, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_Senate#Members.

4 Jacob Ewerdt, Open Legislation Development, 7 Nw. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 63, http://www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/njtip/v7/n1/5/.


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