Re: Who really has the power in Washington?

Billy Tauzin is a politician, lawyer and lobbyist. Of Cajun descent, he was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972-1979 and the United States House of Representatives from 1980-2005, representing Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. In 1994, when the Democrats lost control of the House, Tauzin helped co-found the House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative Democrats. Still considering conservatives unwelcome in the Democratic party, however, in 1995 Tauzin became a Republican, and the first American to have been part of the leadership of both parties in the House. From 2001-2004, Tauzin served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 2005, the same day he left Congress and two months after having helped to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, Tauzin was named director of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, a trade group for pharmaceutical companies. Billy Tauzin is the original author of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996 and the Cable Act, the only bills over the past ten years to become law despite Presidential veto. He received his BA from Nicholls State University in 1964 and his degree in law from Louisiana State University in 1967. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Healthcare Group.

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TRANSCRIPT

If you really wanna look at who should have power in our country, first of all it ought to be a bunch of people who recognize that they don’t own it. They have it temporarily, and they exercise it for someone else. I mean a democracy only functions well that way. Everybody who is elected to government really runs the show. They make the decisions, but they do it in a fiduciary capacity for the folks who send them up here. You know the old “Mr. Smith Comes to Washington” ideal. If it really ran that way, that would be . . . that would obviously be perfect. If the president and his Cabinet were all dedicated to doing great things for this country, and if the Congress were full of people who always believed that the best and most important role they played was to exercise power on behalf of the folks that they represented, that’s what Washington ought to be. And it ought to be a place of transparency, of open discussion of ideas, and sharing of information, and great debates over ideas. We’re not there. We may have once been there, but we’re not there today. You know again, power ought to be shared in a democracy broadly and in a way that everyone feels like they’re part of whatever answers we come up with here. Recorded on: 9/11/07

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