Second phase of ‘Fix Washington’ project under way

Rob Montana

More than 400 people responded to U.S. Rep. John “Randy” Kuhl’s request for ideas from his 29th Congressional District constituents on how to fix Washington, and now it’s time for voting.

Kuhl announced the second phase of his “Fix Washington” project has started, and urged constituents to head to his Web site to vote on the top five ideas selected from the submissions. He also said that though the submission deadline has passed, anyone with ideas or suggestions is still welcome to call any of his district offices to offer them.

Kuhl said he hadn’t done anything like this before, and didn’t know what to expect when he announced the initiative.

“But, as more and more great ideas were coming in, any expectations that I had were surpassed,” he said. “I was extremely pleased with the number of submissions and quality of ideas suggested.”

The top five chosen for the online vote are:

- Make stop-loss — an involuntary extension of one’s military service, typically at the end of a tour of duty — illegal, which was suggested by Andrew Anissi of Pittsford, N.Y.

- Allocate a percentage of NASA’s annual funding to go toward studying alternative energy, which was suggested by Elaine Johnson of Pittsford.

- Award a $75 million prize to the college, university or private sector organization that finds an economically viable alternative for gasoline, which was suggested by Cindy Bacchetta of Pittsford.

- Make universal default — when a creditor can raise the interest rate if a person has been late on any of their loans — on credit cards illegal, which was suggested by David Matz of St. Bonaventure, N.Y.

- Impose term limits on all members of Congress, with U.S. representatives and senators limited to 12 years in office, which was suggested by 10 people.

"The 'Fix Washington' project is about getting my constituents involved in the legislative process,” Kuhl said. “Although we all know the famous School House Rock song, many people do not realize that a law is merely an idea that was put into motion.

“The five selected ideas cover a variety of important issues facing this country,” he added.

Democrat Eric Massa, who challenged Kuhl for his seat in 2006 and will do so again in the 2008 election, said he’s spent every day for the last four years talking to local families about the challenges they are facing in the 29th District and in the country, and said he wouldn’t have needed to undertake such a project as Kuhl has done.

“While I have nothing against using the Internet, I don’t need to take a poll to know that it’s wrong to send my neighbor’s jobs to China,” he said. “We need real solutions in Western New York, not gimmicks designed to make headlines.”

Asked which of the top five ideas he liked the most and which he thought were most needed, Massa didn’t answer specifically.

“I wish there were only five things that needed to be fixed,” he said, “but the truth is that we need to roll up our sleeves and do some real work.”

Kuhl also declined to say which of the top five ideas he liked best, saying that all would make an impact on the U.S. if developed into legislation.

“All five ideas cover significant issues facing this country,” he said. “From our current energy crisis to our service members, the economy and elected officials, all of the ideas are important and I am pleased they were suggested by my constituents.”

Voting on the ideas will continue through Sept. 12, with the idea receiving the most votes having the opportunity to be introduced as legislation by Kuhl on the floor of the House of Representatives. To vote on the idea’s visit

The Evening Tribune