[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.arnold0112.gi.jpg caption="Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has some advice to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – While President-elect Barack Obama talks about reforming the federal government by bringing change to Washington, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking to the nation’s capital for advice on how to shake up Sacramento.
More specifically, the governor’s senior aides recently turned to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for input on how to enact political reforms and make the government run more efficiently, Schwarzenegger communications director Matt David tells CNN.
David said the discussion between Gingrich and Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy did not focus on the current deadlock over the California state budget, but rather the governor’s goal of creating a more efficient state government that could include “consolidating some agencies and getting rid of overtime and sick time abuse.”
“Since his first day in office, the governor has been looking at ways to reform the political system in Sacramento, to make it more accountable and to also make government more efficient to save taxpayer dollars,” he said.
David, who got to know Gingrich during his work at the conservative group Freedoms Watch, reached out to the former House speaker to ask for suggestions and ideas on the issue of reform.
With the Republican Party searching for a unifying theme, could political reform and smaller government be the GOP rallying cry in 2010? Lacking a natural national leader right now, will Schwarzenegger and/or Gingrich fill that role?