Tag Archives: citizen lawmakers

David Schmidt remembers Koupals

Schmidt quotes from 1994 interview:

Dwayne Hunn asks questions in bolded print.  Citizen Lawmakers author David Schmidt answers.

Your feeling on the Senate Judiciary Committee National Initiative Hearings in 1977:

“No body had anything to gain by doing it.  No direct benefit to anybody.  When you get it implemented, you don’t win anything.  No gain to any of the politicians.  It’s a procedural reform.  Toughest thing is to get people interested in a procedure.  Politicians are driven by people who want to get something tangible out of the system.  The National Initiative, as a proce­dural reform, is totally intangible. Procedural reforms finish last — especially when the reforms give equal use to you and your opponents.

“The hay day of procedural reform is over.  One of the few people who believes in procedural reform is Ralph Nader.  Nader and he has dozens of other initiatives that he is pushing regularly.  But all practical politicians are all going for immediate goals.  It may be possible for someone like Perot to push this forward.

“Reagan, Bush, Kemp pushed the National Initiative in the 80’s but the media can’t see the value of it.  They’re cynical about anyone who talks of procedural reform.”

Any other reasons the National Initiative didn’t make it in 1977?

“Abourezk wasn’t re-running.  He assigned an intern to gather co-sponsors from the 78 Congress.  His intern got an impressive list of co-sponsors.  The Congress seemed to be say­ing, ‘In this Congress, we’ll push for the National Initiative —- and no one did.’

“John (Forester) and Roger (Telschow) then went into business and sat back to see if Congress would do anything.”

Did you come to the conclusion that Ed, Joyce and People’s Lobby revived the initiative process?

“Ed was center piece of the book. Started with the conclusion that Ed and Joyce and the Lobby revived the initiative process and supported that conclusion with lots of evidence.”

What about the Lobby training others?

“the Lobby focused on training.  PL trained Jarvis and some are still out doing it.”

Have you been dealing with international initiative?

“Recently met the leader of the Green Party from Bavaria.

He came to visit last Friday to talk about the initiative proc­ess.  Working in tradition of Ed Koupal.  In last 8-10 years helped get Hungarian National Initiative.  They have a good initiative process in German states.

How did you start the Citizen Lawmakers book?

“Lived with Roger and John in 1980 and started editing

National Initiative Newsletter in 1983.  Roger and John were constantly telling stories about Ed.  Referring to him as a “genius” one who knew “how to get politicians on the run.”