Activists Call on Rep. Katko to Co-Sponsor "Democracy Reform Bill"

Mar 4, 2019

Organizer Christine Wood says HR-1 would give everyday people more power over campaigns rather than wealthy or corporate donors.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

More than a dozen Syracuse residents rallied outside of John Katko’s office Monday to voice their support for what they’re calling a democracy reform bill.

Organizer Christine Wood says HR-1 calls for public financing of elections in an effort to have lawmakers hear the voices of more everyday Americans.

"We need campaigns that are funded many, many voters and constituents in a district of a congressperson, rather than that people from across the country who are corporate CEO's donating because they want legislation in their special interest areas."

The program would match a citizen’s donation to a candidate six-to-one. This system is already in place in Seattle and New York City ,which is cited as the best program in the country.  Wood says part of the act addresses the accountability of elected officials.

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"Preventing sitting congressmembers from sitting on corporate boards, and making sure our elected officials have a stricter set of ethics rules to abide by, which at this point, we desperately need."

Former Democratic Congressional Candidate Dana Balter was also at the rally.  Critics say the government can’t afford the program, but Balter points out the tax reform bill cost $1.5 trillion.  She says the money to enact HR-1 is there.

"It's about a priorities.  What do we choose to do with it.  I personally believe that security the integrity and health of our democracy should be priority number one."

The bill has 236 co-sponsors, all of whom are democrats.  The activists want Katko to be the first republican to jump on as a sponsor.  The bill could be voted on later in the week.  

Former Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter says Rep. Katko needs to act in the best interest of his constituents and not only vote for HR-1, but also push his colleagues to do the same.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News