Group pushes cooperation in Congress, less extremism

'No Labels' group founders have ties to Texas, San Antonio

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter, bmylar@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:59:42 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 14 2013 10:00:08 PM CST
no labels website
SAN ANTONIO -

A national group meeting to encourage elected leaders of all political persuasions to work together to solve problems has San Antonio ties.

More than a thousand people called problem-solvers met in New York on Monday. Their single goal: to find a way to bring elected leaders of all parties together to solve the nation's problems.

Former Utah Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, are leading the meeting, which was organized by a group called No Labels.

Manchin appeared on CNN and said members of Congress are insulated from each other.

"We don't even know our colleagues in Congress,” Manchin said. “So this gives us a chance. No Labels gives us that venue to sit down to have meaningful conversation."

Two Texans are among the founders of No Labels, including Kiki McLean.

"We're going to focus on stopping the fight and start fixing problems,” McLean said. “This is really about problem-solvers."

She is a native of San Antonio and adds that Texans are ready to go to work.

"I think San Antonio is full of people who believe in the future and I think they'll be involved with us," McLean said. “We've got members from Texas. I met people yesterday who were here as citizen activists. And I think we have the chance to be a real strong part of this effort.”

Mark McKinnon has worked for both Democrats and Republicans in Texas and is also a founder of No Labels.

He agrees with McLean that San Antonio can play a role in making things better.

"San Antonio is a prime spot,” McKinnon said. “San Antonians are very independent-minded. And they, just like everybody else in Texas, just want us to get moving and start solving the problems we've got."

He said the problem has been extremists but that things may be changing.

"I think the pendulum is starting to swing back, honestly," he said. "And I think that's a good thing."

He said the group has toyed with a unique way to get Congress to pass a budget.

"One of the ideas we had is this idea called 'No budget, no pay,' which means if you don't pass the budget, you don't get paid," McKinnon said.

And that is an approach with which many Americans might agree after watching the debate over the Fiscal Cliff.