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February 7, 2018

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart Cousins and Speaker Heastie:

We, the undersigned environmental organizations and funders, write to express our strong
support for the creation of a robust public funding option for New York State elections. To
take bigger steps towards a cleaner environment and a clean energy system, we first need a
cleaner electoral system. Tackling pollution, and changing our economy to meet the threat of
climate change, also means taking on the powerful interests that pollute, and oppose a just
transition to a clean energy economy. Those interests often use their financial might to prevent
necessary planet-saving policies, literally putting lives, and perhaps our very existence, at risk.
This cannot be allowed to continue.

We applaud the leadership you’ve each shown in past years in sponsoring Fair Elections
legislation, and are pleased to see the vocal opposition to reform no longer standing in the way.
Public financing is the single most important next step to upend the perception of “pay-to-play”
culture in Albany, promote greater accountability and ease the passage of essential
environmental legislation.

As organizations focused on environmental and climate work, we are united in our desire to see
strong campaign finance reform with a system of public financing of elections. We stand ready
to work with you and members of the Legislature to achieve victory this legislative session -- for
the sake of our democracy broadly, and to aid our efforts to make the transformative changes
detailed in our State Energy Plan and Climate Goals.

Just as New York is working to engage all New Yorkers in advancing our clean energy system
with the Reforming Energy Vision -- conserving energy, cleaning our air, and creating renewable
energy and energy storage -- we need to build an electoral system that encourages every New
Yorker to engage in the political process. Public financing has the capacity to help do this, by
empowering average voters to have a greater voice in the political process.

New York City’s experience shows that a public financing option can counter the corrupting
influence of big money in politics. Public financing enables candidates to run competitive
campaigns while relying on a base of small donors back home, rather than on a small number of
wealthy contributors. By doing so, public financing is particularly valuable for promoting
participation among voters and candidates in low-income communities and communities of
color. Public financing will promote accountability and diversity in New York’s governance
while revitalizing our participatory democracy. With a Fair Elections system, we can expect
more pro-environment, climate champions to advance our shared clean renewable energy efforts.

With a new majority in the State Senate, this is the best chance we’ve had in decades to pass Fair
Elections, and with it, more ambitious climate policy, and other critical environmental policies.
Your continued leadership will be crucial to winning Fair Elections this legislative session. We
urge you to press hard for the creation of a robust public financing program, and we offer our
collective support to enact this essential reform.


Empire State Indivisible, Ricky Silver
Environmental Advocates of New York, Conor Bambrick
Environmental Defense Fund, Rory Christian
Food & Water Watch, Alex Beauchamp
Greenpeace, Charlie Cray
Kinetic Communities, Daphany Rose Sanchez
Mothers Out Front Mid-Hudson Valley, Caroline Fenner
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Richard Schrader
NHS of Staten Island, Alfred Gill
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE), Jerry Rivers
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), Eddie Bautista
NYPIRG, Elizabeth Moran
NY Working Families, Stephan Edel
Open Buffalo, Max Anderson
PUSH Buffalo, Geo Hernández
Richmond Senior Services, Alfred Gill
Sane Energy Project, Kim Fraczek
Sierra Club, Roger Downs
Sunrise NYC, Matthew Miles Goodrich
UPROSE, Elizabeth Yeampierre
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Cecil Corbin-Mark & Stephan Roundtree
West Dryden Residents Against the Pipeline (WDRP), Linda Parks
Western New York Environmental Alliance, Lynda Schneekloth
350NYC, Todd Fernandez

Cc: Members of the New York State Legislature Chairs, Senate & Assembly Enviro Committees