In our daily lives, we deal with our personal problems and issues the best we can. When they become issues beyond our control, we look to more powerful entities to solve our problems. The tragic, and very scary, events of this past week have us looking to the largest and most powerful entity in our county, the Federal government, to address the issues and protect us. In particular, the federal legislature (the Senate and the House of Representatives), or Congress, are most suited to dealing with these complex events.

However, the drama and chaos in Congress does not instill confidence that they are up to the task. But it's not just the major issue of war. It is also issues of an unsecured border, inflation, rising food and energy prices that we all struggle with we find are not being addressed. The result is our confidence in Congress has hit an only 32% confidence level. According to a Gallup poll taken September 1-23, 2023, only 32% express a "Great deal/Fair amount of trust in the U.S. legislative branch. What is even more shocking; only 2% express a "great deal" of confidence in Congress.

That same poll showed that over 2/3 expressed a "Great Deal/Fair amount" of confidence in local governments where the respondents live. The Executive branch is not exempt from low confidence as the poll shows record lows there as well. Why the gap between Local and Federal government institutions? Most likely because more local representatives live in the areas where they govern and must face the citizenry every day.

The Founders of our country and Constitution recognized that a large Federal institution could, in time, become self-absorbed and no longer adhere to the government "for the people and by the people." The legislature was to be elected to represent the electorate's interest and govern based on the will of the people. Today those representatives concern themselves more with self-enrichment and re-election than addressing the day-to-day problems experienced by most of us today.

Fortunately, the founders, in anticipation of Federal government self-interest, created a mechanism whereby "the people" could rein in and re-focus the federal government to its original purpose. The founders envisioned "citizen legislators" who would return to their normal work after a short period serving as the peoples' representatives. Since Congress is not interested in, or capable of solving issues such as budget balancing, or lifetime serving Congressmen and women, it is time for the citizens to use the tools provided in our constitution to "right the ship."

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides a way to bypass the congress and amend our constitution to address issues such as term limits, balanced budgets and the unelected administrative agencies' powers. Local legislatures can call for a Convention of States (COS) for just this purpose. Again, confidence in local governments is far greater than in Congress because it is closer to the people so we, yes, you and I, can have greater influence on how the country is governed.

It takes 34 States to pass an Article V resolution that obligates Congress to call a Convention of States. Once the 34-state requirement is met, Congress has no say in what amendments are presented for consideration and/or passed by the delegates to the Convention. The COS organization has been hard at work working with state legislatures on passing an Article V resolution. To date 20 states have done so.

We have an opportunity to garner approval from many more states in the very near future, but it takes the work of all the citizens to take back our "governance by the people" and get us to the required 34 States. New Mexico has yet to pass the required resolution, though an attempt was made at the beginning of this year's legislative session. There is much work to be done. It's time to make our Federal government as responsive and trusted as most of our local government institutions.

Jose Ortiz, NM Public Information Director for the Article V Convention of States

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