Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jesse Helms on the Convening of ALEC Meeting #1


Mr. President, later this month a bipartisan group of conservative State legislators from across the country will meet in Chicago at a conference of the newly formed American Legislative Exchange Council- These legislators are uniting to try to reverse the trend toward greater and greater centralization of power in Washington. They will try to revitalize our Federal system by strengthening State government. The Federal Government, in their view, and mine, is not only too far re- moved from—and insensitive to—the problems of education, taxation, welfare reform, crime, et al.; these legislators are convinced, and I agree, that the Federal Government is the cause, all too often, of the very problems which the States are called upon to solve. Worse, Federal bureaucracy too often discourages action by the States and local governments. But reversing the present flow of authority and power toward Washington, D.C., will not likely be accomplished by action at the Federal level. It is the exception, rather than the rule, when any level of government readily relinquishes even a part of its authority. It is demonstrable that governmental powers have a momentum all their own. Thomas Jefferson is credited with the precept that the government is best which governs least. I wholeheartedly concur. I do not believe that the cradle- to-grave paternalism of the modem welfare state was in the minds of our Founding Fathers when they conceived the American Republic. It is not from lack of compassion that conservatives favor limited government, but from the deep-seated fear of the abuse of power. Surely, in this century, that fear has been borne out. It is no cliche to say that a government big enough to give us any- thing we want is big enough to take away everything we have.

Therefore, it seems obvious that decentralization of government is the most fundamental and urgent task before us today. If ever reform was needed in our public institutions, it is now; and the way to achieve it is by the reversal of the trend toward big brother government.

Through a conservative legislative initiative, the American Legislative Ex- change Council hopes to galvanize our State governments into reclaiming for themselves the prerogatives and responsibilities that were once theirs. This type of initiative and enthusiasm is sorely needed at the State and local level to keep our Republic from sinking into the swamps of economic and moral stagnation. I wish these fine State legislators every success.

Mr. President. I ask unanimous con- sent that the “Statement of Purpose” of the American Legislative Exchange Council be presented in the Extensions of Remarks.

There being no objection, the Statement of Purpose was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: American Legislative Exchange Council Statement of Purpose

We, as conservative legislators, believe that the unique American Federal system re- quires close cooperation and consultation among Members of Legislatures In the several States, and Members of Congress. That belief springs from a conservative philosophical premise that nothing should be undertaken by a higher echelon of government which can be accomplished by a lower echelon and that individual freedom demands strict limitations on the power of all levels of government.

We further believe that State governments are vital to the continued success of our Federal Union and that the genius of our Constitution is summed up in the primary clause which delegates residual powers to the States and to the people in those spheres not specifically delegated to the national government.

We therefore establish the American Legislative Exchange Council:
1. To assist conservative legislators In the States and In the Congress by sharing re- search information and staff support facilities.
2. To establish a clearinghouse for conservative bills at the State legislature level and to provide for a bill exchange program.
3. To disseminate model conservative legislation In all fifty State legislatures and among several thousand legislators. Also, to promote the introduction of companion bills in Congress and in the States, including resolutions on amendments to the Constitution and State resolutions which memorialize the Congress to act in specific areas.
4. To improve communication between conservative State legislators and Members of Congress.
5. To formulate conservative action pro- grams and legislative initiatives which will help to promote federalism by strengthening the position of State governments and to define conservative positions on intergovernmental relations.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with ALEC is it is fertile ground for plutocrats, minions of a growing wealth oligarchy, to sow the seeds to free themselves from all government restraints.