Without campaign finance reform, progressive policies will always feel like a fight.
The first campaign I helped manage was Proposition 212. I went to work for the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) to be an environmental grassroots organizer, but Prop 212 was for campaign finance reform, because getting big money out of politics is essential to sustainable development.
Raising money to get elected is barrier to entry for a lot of good people who want to make a real difference.
I have always thought I’d run for office. With a B.A. in and went on for a Masters in Public Policy I have never been far from politics. There are two reasons I have never run.
First, elected officials usually don’t make radical change. Social change only occurs when there is committed and vocal constituency so I focused on organizing constituents rather than working for politicians.
Second, I don’t want to beg for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.
As a candidate for the 34th congressional district, I want to engage with people. I want to discuss ideas about how we can improve lives for all of the people in this country and be beholden to the people.
That’s why I am running a $5000 campaign.
Right now, people want to get civically engaged, not raise money for politicians. I am running my campaign like I do other civic engagement campaigns, by offering ENGAGE workshops where people get involved in the issues they care about most. In this way I can introduce myself to constituents and leave behind something other than a war chest and mailers that end up in the recycling bin.
Candidates need to break the mold for campaign finance reform to take root and help implement specific policies such as:
Appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a priority to overturn Citizens United
Pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections
Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donation
Insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns, including through disclosure of contributions to outside spending groups
Eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses
Work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules
Campaign finance reform needs to be accompanied by efforts to strengthen voting rights and restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act including:
early voting and vote-by-mail
automatic voter registration
making Election Day a national holiday
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