Letter to Governor Cuomo Calling for Fair Elections in New York State

Coalition of good government, civil rights, environmental, labor, business, religious and grassroots community organizations urge Governor Cuomo to create a public campaign financing program for New York State.

February 3, 2012

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February 3, 2012

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

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We write to express our strong support for the pledge you made during your State of the State address to introduce 2012 legislation to create a public funding option for New York state elections.  We applaud your leadership in pursuing this vital goal; public financing is the single most important next step to upend the perception of “pay-to-play” culture in Albany and promote greater transparency, competition, and accountability.

As good government, civil rights, environmental, labor, business, religious and grassroots community organizations, 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. We have already begun to marshal the necessary resources to launch a robust campaign to do so. With your leadership, New York will be an example for the nation of how to revitalize democracy at all levels of government.

As you noted in your address, New York lags behind other states in political participation, but public financing has the capacity to empower average voters to have a voice in the political process. After Citizens United, we face an era of unlimited and increasingly secret spending on elections.  New York City’s experience shows that a public financing option can counter the potentially 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.

Integral to reforming the state’s campaign finance laws are other essential elements set forth in your State of the State address. Reasonable contribution limits without loopholes; “pay to play” rules for companies and individuals doing business with the State; and, in particular, strong but fair and independent enforcement of our campaign finance laws – all of these are needed to restore public trust in our government.

Your continued leadership will be critical to winning 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. 

Sincerely,

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

32 BJ                                                  

ACT NOW

Albany Presbytery, PC (USA)

ALIGN

Alliance for Quality Education

Americans for Campaign Reform

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress-New York

BALCONY, The Business and Labor Coalition of NY

Barack Obama Democratic Club

Barack Obama Democratic Club of East Harlem

Binghamton Southside Neighborhood Assembly

Brennan Center for Justice

Brooklyn and Staten Island MoveOn Councils

Brooklyn Movement Center

Buffalo Teachers Federation

Buffalo MoveOn Council

Capital Region MoveOn Council

Center for Working Families

Citizen Action of New York

Citizen Action of New York City

Citizens Committee for New York City

Citizens for a Better New York (CFBNY)

Citizens Union

Coalition for Economic Justice

Coalition for the Homeless

Colgate University Democracy Matters

Common Cause NY

Community Free Democrats

Community Voices Heard

CWA District 1

Democracy for New York City

Democracy Matters

Democrats.com

Demos

Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York

Downtown Independent Democrats

Drum Major Institute

East Side Democratic Club

Fingerlakes MoveOn Council

Foundation of Integrative AIDS Research

Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Greater NYC for Change

Human Services Council

Hunger Action Network of NY State

Interfaith Impact of New York State

Iona College Democracy Matters

Jobs with Justice Long Island

Justice and Peace Resource Center

Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State

La Fuente

League of Women Voters

Long Island Progressive Coalition

Make the Road NY

Manhattan MoveOn Council

Manhattan Young Democrats

Metro New York Healthcare for All

Metropolitan Russian American Parent Association

Mount Vernon United Tenants

NAACP New York State Conference

Nassau County MoveOn Council

NASW-NYS

National Council of Jewish Women - NY Section

New Kings Democrats

New Roosevelt Initiative

New York Civic

New York Communities for Change

New York State Nurses Association

New York Uprising (Edward I. Koch, Founder)

Northwest Bronx for Change

Northern Westchester MoveOn Council

NYPIRG

OCA-NY

PEF ENCON

People United for Sustainable Housing

Planned Parenthood of South Central NY

Port Jefferson MoveOn Council

Public Campaign

Public Employees Federation of NY

PUSH-Buffalo

Queens County Young Democrats

Queens MoveOn Council

Reform Jewish Voice of New York State

Reinvent Albany

Rochester MoveOn Council

RWDSU

Saratoga MoveOn Council

Schuyler Center for Analysis & Advocacy

Sierra Club Susquehanna Group

Strong Economy for All

St. Lawrence University Democracy Matters

Sullivan County MoveOn Council

SUNY Binghamton Democracy Matters

SUNY Buffalo Democracy Matters

SUNY Geneseo Democracy Matters

Syracuse MoveOn Council

Syracuse University Democracy Matters

Tenants Political Action Committee

The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester (TIAR)

Tribeca for Change

UAW Region 9 

UAW Region 9A

UFCW 1500

Ulster County MoveOn Council

Union College Democracy Matters

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton

United New York

Upper West Side MoveOn Council

Urban Justice Center

Utica MoveOn Council

Voices of Community Activists & Leaders

Welfare Rights Initiative

WESPAC Foundation

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

Westchester for Change

Westchester MoveOn Council

Women's City Club of New York

Working Families Party