High-tech entrepreneur David Gilmour is advocating a completely different kind of innovation this time around. The Los Altos Hills resident and likeminded members of a new organization, No Labels, are seeking a fundamental change in government from extremist, polarizing politics to more bipartisan collaboration built on compromise.
Gilmour said he was in the nation’s capital last week with 150 No Labels members to send an “urgent” message: “The American people expect lawmakers to put country before party and work together to reach a deal (on a new federal budget) and avert a default.”
“Washington is at risk of reaching a new low in the eyes of most Americans,” said Gilmour, a No Labels citizen leader. “It makes you wonder how it could be that neither party seems to get it.”
No Labels founding leader Lisa Borders said, “Congress and the White House need to stop dragging their feet. We’re here to call for them to start walking in lockstep with the majority of Americans, not those on the far left and far right who are holding up progress. The American people want a real deal, not a default.”
No Labels is a national citizens’ movement of Independents, Democrats and Republicans urging bipartisan cooperation in the interest of common-sense solutions. Launched in December, the grassroots group already has 100,000 members representing all 435 congressional districts across all 50 states. Gilmour is among the organization’s 350 recognized citizen leaders.
“This reflects a lot of people not involved in politics,” said Gilmour, who founded Tacit Software Inc. and has lived in Los Altos Hills since 1991. “We think it’s really important that problems are solved on a bipartisan basis.”
Gilmour said he is fed up with party majorities cycling through the House and Senate and pushing through partisan agendas.
“At some point, you have to say, ‘Enough,’” he said.
Gilmour said it raised a red flag when he heard members of the Tea Party reject compromise on principle, asserting that “compromise is the enemy.”
“We don’t think that way – compromise is what built this country,” he said.
Among No Labels objectives are support for centrist politicians either campaigning for or already serving in Congress, and a push for open primaries and changes in congressional rules that exacerbate the current dysfunction. As a citizen leader, Gilmour promotes involvement through Internet radio talk shows and town hall meetings, and contributes to group strategies.
Gilmour said he thinks Silicon Valley, with its diverse, educated culture and focus on problem solving, could play a bigger role in encouraging change in Washington, D.C.
“I can understand how people could be skeptical that we could change anything,” he said. “I was initially skeptical – but we’re gaining a lot of clout.”
For more information, visit www.NoLabels.org.
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