Posted: 5:34 pm Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein
Athens – Senate candidate Michelle Nunn is pursuing a down-the-middle approach to reach independent voters who would otherwise blanch at voting for a Democrat. And the list of legislative proposals she unveiled here today speaks volumes about that approach.
As if inspired by Buzzfeed, the former nonprofit executive unfurled her “five ideas to make washington work for Georgia again.” They are, for the most part, not controversial and nonpartisan. In other words, perfect for a candidate who already is preparing for a tough November contest against a well-financed GOP opponent.
“It’s a starting point to making Congress work again for Georgians and across the nation,” she told a crowd of at least 50 volunteers in a cramped room at the student center. “This campaign will be decided upon by the participation of citizens, and I hope you’ll come to us with your creative ideas.”
Her pitches include a lifetime ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists, a bid to block lawmakers from getting paid if Congress fails to adopt a budget, a fiscal note for every proposal, new campaign finance disclosure requirements and a pledge to meet with every senator her first year.
It’s campaign stump material as she nears a May 20 primary against several fellow Democratic rivals. But it also lays the groundwork for her centrist appeal for “collaboration, problem solving and getting things done.”
Most of these ideas have floated around Capitol Hill before to no avail. Sens. Jon Tester and Michael Bennet pushed the lobbyist ban in 2012 and the Senate has passed a version of the “No Budget, No Pay” proposal. Requiring a price tag for every bill is a perennial push by transparency advocates in Washington.
Nunn, though, urged her supporters not to be tempered by the past.
“I know we have in this room the kind of optimism and idealism and creativity that we need to unleash across the nation.”
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press. He also contributes to the AJC's Political Insider blog. Bluestein has traveled to Haiti with President Jimmy Carter, journeyed to Panama with Gov. Nathan Deal and tracked down a suspected Ponzi schemer in suburban Kansas. He spent weeks in Louisiana covering the Gulf Oil Spill, became an unwitting expert on capital punishment after witnessing almost a dozen executions in Georgia's death chamber and was part of award-winning teams that descended upon the biggest breaking news events in the Southeast. Bluestein has covered a range of beats, including environment, legal affairs and economic development. He's now the AJC's political writer, charged with covering the intricacies of Georgia's lively government on the newspaper's front pages and in the Political Insider blog. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.