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Mark Takano: “It’s Time to Clean Up Congress”

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House candidate announces first items of a reform agenda

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA — Mark Takano, candidate for Congress in the 41st District of California, recently announced the first components of a plan to bring needed reform to the United States House of Representatives. In announcing this initiative, Takano released the following statement:

“It’s clear to anyone paying attention that our Congress is broken. Big oil companies, powerful insurance companies and special interest lobbyists have rigged the system, and our middle class is suffering for it. At the end of last month, Congress went on vacation despite failing to renew tax cuts for middle class families or pass a single bill to help put struggling Americans back to work. People who play by the rules are tired of watching the rich and powerful cut deals to get ahead by cutting in line. Today, I’m announcing the first part of my plan to end the special interest stranglehold in Washington: ending public pensions for members of Congress who leave office and become lobbyists, requiring members of Congress to disclose all meetings with lobbyists, and ending the pay-to-play system that gives big donors easier access to testify before Congressional committees. Limiting the influence of powerful lobbyists is the first step towards putting Congress back to work for middle class Americans. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But if Republicans in Washington won’t take steps to clean up our politics, then if elected to Congress, I will.” The Takano Congressional Reform Agenda includes: Ending Taxpayer-Paid Pensions for Lawmakers Who Become Lobbyists. Members of Congress who leave public office and “cash in” their connections for high-paid positions in lobbying firms wouldn’t also be able to receive their taxpayer-funded Congressional pension. House Republicans voted to protect pensions for former members turned millionaire lobbyists on May 10, 2012.

Requiring Disclosure of Meetings with Lobbyists. The White House discloses all meetings between the President and lobbyists, and so should members of Congress. Ending Special Access for Campaign Donors. Members of Congress routinely invite large contributors to speak before Congressional Committees, a pay-to-play system that gives special interests greater access to lawmakers than regular Americans. This arrangement would be barred. Takano also asked members of the community to join his initiative by sharing their thoughts on ways to reform Congress through a page on his campaign website, www.marktakano.com.

A lifelong resident of Riverside, Mark Takano was elected to the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees in 1990 and won re-election to the board in 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2008. He is the longest serving current board member and one of the longest serving Democratic elected officials in Riverside County. He helped lead the project to establish the RCCD’s Center for Social Justice. Takano has worked as a classroom teacher in the Rialto Unified School District for the past 23 years.

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