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Labor Support for Fair Elections

Labor Support for Fair Elections

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Published by Nick Reisman

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Published by: Nick Reisman on Jun 06, 2012
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06/06/2012

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Memorandum
in
Support 
of 
the
Fair
Elections
 Act:
Voluntary
Public
Financing
for
State
Elections
May
 
11,
 
2012
 
2012
 
Campaign
 
Finance
 
Reform
 
Act:
 
S3584
B
 
(Adams)
 
2012
 
Fair
 
Elections
 
Act:
 
A9885
C
 
(Silver),
 
same
 
as
 
S7036
A
 
(Sampson)
 
We
 
are
 
writing
 
to
 
express
 
strong
 
support
 
for
 
the
 
Fair
 
Elections
 
Act,
 
which
 
would
 
enact
 
a
 
voluntary
 
public
 
financing
 
system
 
for
 
New
 
York
 
State
 
legislative
 
and
 
statewide
 
candidates.
 
SEIU
 
32BJ
 
represents
 
over
 
120,000
 
working
 
families,
 
70,000
 
of 
 
whom
 
live
 
and
 
work
 
in
 
New
 
York.
 
As
 
doormen
 
and
 
supers,
 
office
 
and
 
school
 
cleaners,
 
handypersons,
 
and
 
security
 
officers,
 
32BJ
 
members
 
play
 
an
 
important
 
role
 
in
 
maintaining
 
the
 
homes,
 
workplace
 
and
 
security
 
of 
 
New
 
Yorkers,
 
and
 
are
 
invested
 
in
 
the
 
political
 
life
 
of 
 
their
 
state.
 
While
 
32BJ
 
participates
 
in
 
the
 
current
 
campaign
 
finance
 
system
 
and
 
regularly
 
contributes
 
to
 
state
 
electoral
 
campaigns,
 
we
 
strongly
 
support
 
a
 
Fair
 
Elections
 
system
 
because
 
voluntary
 
public
 
financing
 
has
 
proven
 
to
 
shift
 
political
 
power
 
towards
 
average
 
New
 
Yorkers—and
 
away
 
from
 
wealthy
 
donors—serving
 
our
 
members
 
far
 
more
 
effectively
 
than
 
big
 
checks.
 
Specifically,
 
a
 
strong
 
system
 
to
 
publicly
 
finance
 
elections
 
would:
 
 
Allow
 
elected
 
officials
 
to
 
make
 
progress
 
in
 
addressing
 
the
 
many
 
problems
 
that
 
affect
 
the
 
working
 
people
 
of 
 
the
 
State
 
of 
 
New
 
York.
 
Currently,
 
legislators’
 
efforts
 
are
 
often
 
blocked
 
or
 
watered
 
down
 
by
 
corporate
 
donors.
 
 
Free
 
candidates
 
and
 
incumbent
 
legislators
 
from
 
the
 
arduous
 
task
 
of 
 
raising
 
large
 
amounts
 
of 
 
private
 
money
 
every
 
two
 
years
 
in
 
order
 
to
 
ensure
 
they
 
can
 
be
 
competitive
 
in
 
an
 
election.
 
 
Promote
 
civic
 
participation
 
and
 
increase
 
the
 
impact
 
of 
 
the
 
local
 
activists
 
who
 
knock
 
on
 
doors,
 
work
 
the
 
phones
 
and
 
organize
 
house
 
parties
 
during
 
election
 
season
 
The
 
legislature
 
should
 
act
 
now
 
to
 
pass
 
a
 
system
 
of 
 
Fair
 
Elections
 
that
 
includes
 
matching
 
funds
 
for
 
small
 
donations,
 
reasonable
 
contribution
 
limits
 
to
 
all
 
candidates
 
and
 
adequate
 
administration
 
and
 
enforcement
 
of 
 
the
 
program.
 
In
 
his
 
State
 
of 
 
the
 
State
 
address,
 
Governor
 
Cuomo
 
expressed
 
his
 
intention
 
to
 
pass
 
public
 
financing
 
of 
 
elections
 
this
 
year.
 
All
 
members
 
of 
 
the
 
legislature
 
should
 
follow
 
suit.
 
If 
 
you
 
have
 
any
 
questions,
 
please
 
contact
 
LaShaun
 
Lesley
 
at
 
llesley@seiu32bj.org
 
or
 
917841
7071.
 
 
2012 Campaign Finance Reform Act: S3584-B (Adams)2012 Fair Elections Act: A9885-C (Silver), same as S7036-A (Sampson)
 
LEGISLATIVE MEMO: May 3, 2012
Support Fair-Elections:Create a Public Financing System
2012 Campaign Finance Reform Act: S3584-B (Adams)2012 Fair Elections Act: A9885-C (Silver), same as S7036-A (Sampson)
What is a System of “Public Financing”?
 
Instead of candidates running for office by raising large contributions from corporate specialinterests and wealthy donors, publicly-financed elections allow candidates to run for office withsmall donations from people in their community and receive public funds to run a competitivecampaign.
Background: Why do we need Public Financing?
 
Big money corporate special interests and their lobbyists hold too much sway over our stategovernment. Voter-owned elections would empower small donors and reduce the influence of wealthy interests in Albany. CWA lobbies and makes campaign donations. But we are under noillusions: we are hugely out-gunned by the rich and the powerful, whether it’s corporations likeVerizon or wealthy people who can hire connected lobbyists and write large campaign checks.CWA members are no different from the 99% of New Yorkers: they cannot write bigcampaign checks or hire lobbyists to make their voices heard. Each year, the arms race of spendingand insider lobbying makes the problem worse. Disclosed lobbying reached $220 million in 2011and State-level election spending reached $246 million in 2010.
What would a strong system of public financing allow?
 
Elected officials could work more consistently on the many problems that affect the workingand low-income people of the State of New York. Currently, legislators’ efforts are oftenblocked or watered down by corporate donors and wealthy people who dominate the system.
 
Candidates and incumbent legislators would not have to spend so much time raising largeamounts of private money every two years from the rich and special interests.
 
Citizen activists who are not wealthy could have more impact on the system through smalldonations and by knocking on doors, working the phones and organizing house partiesduring election season.
Following Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Support for Public Financing,the State Legislature should act now and pass a system of Fair Elections thatincludes matching funds for small donations, reasonable contribution limits toall candidates and adequate administration and enforcement of the program.
For more information contact CWA District 1 at 212-344-2515
 

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