DES MOINES – This week, Governor Branstad acknowledged that a very low percentage of Americans have trust in government to do the right thing, and he says if he is re-elected, he will aim to turn that trend around.
Branstad now proposes the creation of a one-stop shop Government Accountability Portal (GAP) to be housed in the Iowa Public Information Board to serve as the citizen launch point to register complaints, comments, suggestions, or requests regarding interactions with state government.
It is often a daunting task for an Iowa citizen to wade through the various agencies of state government in their search of answers to their questions or for locating an appropriate portal through which to register a concern, Branstad says.
According to his campaign, “navigating the labyrinth of state government can discourage the most dedicated citizen, and Governor Branstad believes, given today’s technology, that creating a one-stop GAP could provide Iowans with a valuable tool with which to communicate to state government.
“In essence, the Governor envisions the GAP serving as a sort of information liaison between Iowans and their state government—bringing together inputs from telecommunications, email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, and other emerging social media technologies into one collection point, sorting and triaging the messages, and then distributing them to the appropriate respondents in each agency of state government.”
The goal of this one-stop shop GAP would be an initial response to each input in 24 hours and an agency acknowledgement of the communication within 48 hours, such that citizens know to what agency their message was sent and with whom in that agency they will continue to the discussion until the issue is resolved.
The Branstad campaign says the GAP will provide Iowans with clarity, timeliness, and, ultimately, with greater openness and transparency in their interactions with state government.
Democrat Jack Hatch has said Branstad’s GAP isn’t enough, and wants a board created that the governor has no power over.
The board “will have a separate budget from the executive branch and it would be insulated from tampering” and could gain access to public records and release them to the public.