No Labels political group visits Granite State
By Doug Alden, New Hampshire Union Leader
October 19, 2014
GOFFSTOWN — A political movement that hopes to break through the partisan gridlock that has mired the federal government took its message to the people of New Hampshire during a public meeting.
Granite Staters proved to be a typically tough crowd with plenty of questions and some skepticism about the plans and priorities presented by leaders of the group No Labels in a packed auditorium Saturday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
“Everybody in this country knows that we have huge problems that are not getting solved,” said Bill Galston, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and one of the co-founders of No Labels. “When our parties and leaders play winner-take-all politics, nobody wins. In fact, we all lose.”Galston explained the No Labels plan and how the group hopes to shape the focus in the 2016 presidential campaign. The official agenda will be unveiled October 2015 in New Hampshire, where voters hold a major role early in the campaign in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.
No Labels has offered four specific goals, including job creation, a balanced federal budget, support to uphold Social Security and Medicare for another 75 years and energy security for the country.
The panel also included two of a growing number of congressional members to align with No Labels. U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Charlie Dent, R-Pa., who were also examples of bipartisanship within the movement.
“This group is not about asking members of Congress to check their party affiliation at the door,” Dent said after the meeting.
“What we’re simply asking people to do is resolve a problem. You can be a good conservative or a good liberal progressive and still work with the other side.”
The message of bipartisan cooperation is hardly new, but there has been very little success achieving it within a deeply divided Congress and the embattled administration of President Barack Obama.
Welch said the gridlock in Washington has eroded public trust that will require work to repair through cooperation.“If we’re going to restore trust then there’s got to be a little bit of flexibility,” he said No Labels plans to continue recruiting supporters before unveiling its National Strategic Agenda next fall.