Jake Towne's Open Office

In Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional District, independent libertarian candidate Jake Towne is seeking to unseat Republican Charlie Dent in 2010. Running on a platform of accountability and transparency, Towne has developed a concept he terms 'Our Open Office,' which contains a number of interesting proposals aimed at informing and empowering his constituency while opening up the business of government to wider scrutiny. The 'open office' promises to create an online public feedback and debate forum, issue a monthly report on his activities in the House as well as those of constituents on the forum, provide an online bill submission service and offer town hall style discussions on-demand. Summarizing the plan, Towne writes:
  • Empower the Citizen

    • Each resident has a real public voice – to comment, vote, debate, and criticize

    • Each constituent will have a way to publicly demand I address their ideas and concerns by submitting bills online

    • Citizens can summon me to a town hall discussion by reaching a threshold level on topics they feel I am not addressing timely enough or to their satisfaction

    • By incorporating the feedback of specialists in different fields and interests, particularly with the bill submission ability, our office will be far more efficient with better ideas than other districts because our work force will be larger and more specialized. Those “working” outside of my office will be working voluntarily on issues that have the most importance to them, empowering the individual citizen.

  • Accountability and Transparency

    • All residents can receive a monthly report from my office detailing each house floor vote taken, each bill introduced, and each bill co-sponsored. Feedback from the forum will be summarized. Most importantly, I, the representative, will be forced to outline WHY I voted each way.

    • My office's budget report will be publicized and readily available on the website so citizens can see how their tax dollars are spent.

    • Empowering citizens to public discourse and enabling open, visible criticism of my actions makes me more accountable to the people.

However, Towne also points out that "the incumbent, Congressman Dent, could start implementing this right now, and save me the trouble of doing it myself after I win the November 2010 election."

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