For Immediate Release: June 21, 2019
Fair Elections Statement: Progress Has Been Made, But We Still Have to Change the Rules of the Game
Albany– The Fair Elections for New York campaign released the following statement on the end of the legislative session.
“The new wave of legislators in Albany shook up the status quo, but they didn’t shake it out. There was a huge people-powered shift, seismic enough to overcome big money’s grip on many issues and pass popular policies to forward women’s rights, tenants rights, immigrant rights, climate justice, and more. Still, there is much unfinished business to be done. In order to cement the power of everyday New Yorkers in Albany, we need fair elections. We still leave this legislative session with a campaign finance system in place that looks a lot like the old Albany: with big money still playing an outsized role in our political process.
“Albany’s Achilles heel remains: its deep dependence on a campaign finance system dominated by the wealthy and well connected. That dependence marginalizes the interests, needs, and values of working class people, people of color, and all those underrepresented in the donor class, making every fight for justice an uphill battle. We are proud of the progress that has been made, but let’s make it clear– we will never see a fully new Albany until a small donor public financing system is implemented and New Yorkers no longer have to wonder whether large campaign donations have more influence than they do.
“Albany leaders decided a commission would once and for all create a fair and representative campaign finance system for state and legislative races by December 1, but no commission has been seated, and a third of their time has already passed. With only 5 months remaining, we call on the Governor and legislative leaders to seat the commission and get to work on this unfinished business of the 2019 legislative session. And the Legislature must still introduce strong public campaign finance legislation to be prepared to act decisively in December should the Commission fail to do its job.”
The Fair Elections for New York campaign includes over 200 community, labor, tenant, immigrant, racial justice, environment, faith, good government, and grassroots resistance organizations who came together to ensure comprehensive campaign finance reform, including small donor public financing, was included in this year’s state budget. The campaign plans to hold leaders accountable to their commitment in the budget to deliver Fair Elections reforms this year. Learn more at FairElectionsNY.org