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Kerrey proposes a non-partisan Congress
Senate candidate Bob Kerrey has a big idea for big change. He is proposing a non-partisan congress like the Nebraska legislature.
Critics are saying this will never happen.
So how is Kerrey proposing to do this?
He wants to make a constitutional amendment that would prevent Congress from organizing along party lines. Kerrey says Congress isn't productive enough under the current organization.
"When the work of the Congress is being done, I think it's far better if the Congress organizes without either of these political party caucuses," said Kerrey.
Here in Nebraska we have a uni-cameral, non-partisan legislature consisting of only one house. So, the legislative leadership is not based on party affiliation.
We're the only state in the country like this and most Nebraskans agree it works.
"It's pretty clear that in Nebraska the senators vote the way they want to vote," said Hastings College Political Science Professor Bob Amyot.
On a national level, growing political polarization is leading to total gridlock in Congress.
"Kerrey's correct in pointing out that something has to be done. That there's no easy solution out there," Amyot said.
But, Amyot says what happens in Congress reflects directly on the success of the president.
"The Republicans saw very early on, for example once Barack Obama got elected, that if he was going to be seen as a success, that would be because Congress actually passed laws," said Amyot.
Even though a non-partisan legislature works here in Nebraska, critics say a constitutional amendment for Congress is simply unrealistic.
"I don't think it's an idea that's universally accepted, nor is it understood," said Amyot.
Amyot points out that Congress could potentially re-write their own rules without implementing a constitutional amendment.
Either way, Kerrey insists this is a necessary change and though his intentions might be honest his motives could be fueled by political strategy.
"The fact that he hasn't lived here for the last ten years, perhaps highlighting his pride in Nebraska is a good thing for him to do," said Amyot.
Kerrey will be at Hastings College Thursday. He's holding a town hall meeting at the French Memorial Chapel at 4:00.
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