This past week, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that publicly financed elections would not be included in the Assembly one-house budget. This is unacceptable. If we want a democracy worthy of the name, we need to enact this reform in this year’s state budget.
We need fresh energy and vision in government — and representatives who actually represent their constituents. That means people who have themselves experienced the challenge of finding an affordable apartment on a service worker’s wage, or getting an appointment with the a doctor within 20 miles...who actually accepts the insurance policy that costs a third of her income.
Public financing of elections would make it possible for working-class people to run for office and challenge the political dominance of well-connected elites. With a small-donor matching system, candidates could rely on the support of ordinary New Yorkers rather than the super-rich. That means lobbyists and big-money campaign donors would lose their stranglehold over lawmakers in Albany, and we finally could enact long-overdue education, health care and environmental reforms.
New York state must pass public financing in this year’s budget. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill needs to strongly support public financing and publicly demand that it is included in the state budget. We deserve the best democracy possible, and as our elected representative in Albany, it is Cahill’s responsibility to make it happen.
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