The Fight for Fair Elections

Eileen Austin

If you are okay with the fact that New York politicians receive huge contributions from big contributors and then give tax breaks to corporations but cut funding for schools and colleges, for environmental protection and for other critical services you should stop reading this.

But if you want a government that cares about and listens to ordinary New Yorkers, then I have exciting news. There is a huge push in our state right now to take back our democracy with a “Fair Elections” bill in Albany. It would change the way campaigns are financed by encouraging you or someone like you to run for office without depending on big money from special interests and lobbyists.

The fight for change is being waged by hundreds of grassroots groups and individuals. And the exiting news is that we already have Governor Andrew Cuomo and hundreds of legislators on our side.

Cuomo and others are responding to the legacy of corruption and money scandals in Albany. By giving ordinary citizens resources to run for office–independent of special interest money–Cuomo believes we can break the stranglehold that big donors now have on our democracy.
“Fair Elections” has been successfully implemented in Connecticut, Maine and New York City, among others. It means that politicians spend time talking with their constituents and solving problems, instead of using precious hours each day to raising money from wealthy contributors. It means that highly paid corporate lobbyists can lose their clout! It means that if you have good ideas, you can run for office even without millions in your bank account!

And the truth is that this is almost within our grasp, though powerful corporate donors are fighting to retain their grip on our political process. That’s why we need you! Students at SUNY College at Oneonta have an important role in deciding the future — whether New York State will have Fair Elections where everyone’s voice is heard. If you want your representatives in Albany to listen to you, join us in fighting for a fair and inclusive democracy ( New Yorkers deserve a state government that is of, by and for the people of New York–not one bought and paid for with big campaign checks. Together we can do it!

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