How many millions of dollars are we spending by sending our representatives to St. Paul, building them facilities, and paying their upkeep?
We’re in the 21st century now, so here is a proposal to eliminate much of these costs by using the technology which is now readily available.
Let’s consider four distinct advantages of having our representatives remain in offices in their districts and attending legislative sessions via secure video conferencing.
- Security. In an age of terrorist threats, how much more secure would it be to have our representatives scattered throughout the state rather than in one location?
- Cost. Our representatives maintain an office in their home district anyway, but we would eliminate the costs associated with having them live, work, and meet in St. Paul.
- Accessibility. With the representative being required to work in their home district, it would be far easier for their constituents to access these representatives and communicate with them. The representatives would also have to face their constituents daily, and receive direct and immediate input as to how their policies impact their neighbors.
- Loss of Power of Lobbyists. Lobbyists would no longer be able to drown out the voices of the people by surrounding the representatives in St. Paul, they would have to travel to all corners of the state to reach the representatives, and then compete directly with the constituency for their attention.
It seems to me that, aside from a few minor inconveniences, this system would be of tremendous benefit to us all. Next time you get a chance, mention this to one of the candidates for public office and see what they say. It may just tell you a little about them and who they want to work for.