With Rep. Steve Israel’s announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election, there’s an exciting opportunity for the GOP to take this seat for the first time in 16 years [“House candidates report millions in coffers,” News, Feb. 1]. But that will happen only if the nomination process is reformed.

The 2016 presidential primary races, in both major parties, should be sending a clear message that the average voter is hungry for someone from outside the party establishment — someone not beholden to lobbyists or influenced by money from donor elites, crony capitalists or big labor.

Now is the time to consider a more open and transparent approach to selecting candidates. The proverbial smoke filled room needs to be cleared. Voters should be able to hear from the candidates directly via debates and meetings at local venues, not filtered through the media or party bosses.

How can freethinking Republicans, Conservatives and Independents accomplish this? We should take a lesson from Donald Trump, who — like him or not — has used traditional and social media to his great advantage. In this age, a citizen politician can put together a vigorous campaign on a shoestring.

Let’s start the conversation.

Corinne A. Michels, Manhasset

Ray Ellers, Commack

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Editor’s note: The writers lead an organization called Government by the People, a group of conservative voters.