Buddy Roemer Announcement
Today I announce the official formation of our exploratory
committee for the presidential race to be decided in the fall of
2012. I'm going to challenge the current system of money in
politics from day one by setting a voluntary limit on
contributions of $100 per individual. I will accept not one penny
more. I will accept no PAC money, no organization money. It
will be the citizens of America who run this race, and who elect the
I think our system has become institutionally corrupt. I'm not
talking about a person; I'm talking about the system. Washington,
DC is a boomtown, and the rest of America is hurting. Why is
that? Washington, DC is a fundraiser every night, and it's an
auction during the day for retiring congressmen. Institutionally
corrupt. I think the voice of the people are being drownded by
the money—special interest money, all-I-want-is-access money, bundled
money, campaign money, deficit money, debt money, Wall Street money,
insurance money, pharmaceutical companies' money—you know it. On
and on and on. Where are the people?
Look at two bills. And it's what got me started. The health
care bill, where there was no tort reform. We're worried about
the cost of health care in America—not its quality—and there's no
tort reform in the bill? What did that cost the tort
lawyers? Look at health care reform. There's no requirement
on the pharmaceutical companies to discount their sales to large users
like Medicare and Medicaid. Look at the health care bill.
There was absolutely no competitive reason, or no reason at all for
these large groups like insurance for example, who are not
allowed— You're not allowed as a user of insurance to go across
the state line to get that care. Wow. What kind of
protection is that? How much did that cost the American taxpayer?
Then look at the second bill, the financial reform bill, where we're
supposed to prevent the next financial crisis in America. Who did
they give a free ride to? Wall Street. Big banks; the 19
banks that got bailed out—too big to fail, the government said.
Guess what? They're bigger now. Nothing changes when the
money of a status quo and special interests run Washington.
I'm going to ask America in this exploration and beyond to take a look
at a better way. To step up family by family, person by person,
and let's take back a representative democracy.
Today I declare my declaration of independence from the money
interests. I'm going to cast my lot with people just like me who
work for a living, make a payroll, build small businesses. I'm
going to ask us to take the country back. I'm not the key in this
campaign. You are.
I cannot do this alone. I'm a reformer by nature. Those of
you who know me know that's true. I ran for governor of this
great state when I had no chance to win—no—and ran against the
biggest money machine you ever saw. A governor who got on "60
Minutes" and bragged about selling offices for money and keeping it in
his campaign or elsewhere. We ran with limits, we ran with taking
money only from this state, we ran with less money than anybody in the
race, and the people lifted us over the line.
I'm a reformer, and reforming is hard. It doesn't make you
popular. You tell the school teachers you have to be tested—that
you get paid on merit pay, not tenure. That doesn't make you
popular, but it's right for the kids. You balance the budget when
it's been out of balance three out of the last four years; you balance
it four years in a row. You take the worst rated bonds in
America—we were ranked 50th; we were actually behind Guam. I'm
not putting Guam down, but we were behind Guam. We got three bond
ratings in the first three years; no state in America did that.
I'm not a smooth politician; I'm a reformer. I love
America. I think our promise is yet ahead of us. But I
think if we're owned by a few, the many will never be heard.
Exploratory committee. I have a lot of work to do. I've
been out of politics for 20 years—my choice after the people decided
when I lost my re-election in a tough campaign against two tough
politicians. But I like what we did. I wouldn't change a
thing as governor. We made so much progress. It's just not
popular to make the tough decision. And it might be true about
the next leader.
Tough decisions. But I know this—I want a president free to
lead. I want a president free to make us energy independent in
this decade. I want a president to make us free from Chinese
money that owns our debt. They're our competitor. I want a
president free to honor small businesses and the fact that they create
jobs in America. I want a president to commit to a balanced
budget within five years and attack this debt. I want a president
free to not have to check with the labor unions or the chamber of
commerce or any big company on Wall Street, but listen to the American
people. They'll tell you, Mr. President, we want work. We
want to compete. We want to do better. We want to protect
our children and our grandchildren. And we are tired of selling
our country to a few.
It's been a long time since I've been in politics directly. I've
helped others. My kids have been involved, and I honor all of
them. But I came to the age of 67 where I thought I was old
enough to know what needs to be done and young enough to get it
done. So I'm going to walk across America figuratively and
literally on occasion, and listen to its people.
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Time: 1:30 P.M. CST / 2:30 P.M. EST
Location: Business First Bank
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809