States’ Rights

I refer to myself as an independent candidate for Ohio’s United States Senate seat. And that’s what it is: Ohio’s seat.

A few years ago, a Massachusetts gentleman named Scott Brown got a lot of mileage out of the phrase, “It’s the people’s seat.” That sounds much better than saying, “It’s Ted Kennedy’s seat,” but it’s equally inaccurate. The people of Massachusetts (and every State in the Union) have seats in Congress: in the House of Representatives. Despite current practice, the role of the Senate is to represent the self-interests of the State. Today, senators rule their States rather than serve them.

When the House presents a bill to the Senate containing mandates that place undue burdens on the State (as was the case with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act), the Senate’s duty is to kill the bill. To impose the bill on every State but their own is not their job. Just as it’s not their job to lessen the burden by plundering their neighbors. Their duty is simply to vote “No!” Had Senators from every State served in the capacity the Constitution required, then PPACA, which was signed into law in March 2010, would never have found its way to the President’s desk. This is evidenced by the fact that 26 States—a clear majority—are challenging the constitutionality of those laws. If Senators from those 26 States had been doing the job the Constitution calls them to do, then at best the bill would have failed 52 to 48.

Fixing States’ Rights in 2016

When I’m fortunate enough to be chosen to represent the State of Ohio before the United States Senate, I will stand on the Senate floor, raise my hand and declare: “I represent the State of Ohio and we would like our sovereignty back!”

I favor the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, though with the money involved in state politics I’m not sure our situation would improve. On the other hand, if I succeed in my mission of “changing the way politics is done,” good candidates will have a template for winning elections without spending millions of dollars.

Here’s an idea: pass an amendment placing the burden of compensation for Senators upon their respective States. The State would determine the salary of its Senators. It would also be beneficial if States could recall Senators who voted against the sovereignty of the State they represent, without having to go through the state legislature.

Here’s another idea: create an amendment binding members of Congress to the consequences of their laws. If Congress realized they would be subject to the legislation they have a hand in passing, they’d diligently protect the rights of the people and the sovereignty of their State. Imposing limits on how long our leaders stay in office would make this doubly effective.