IN THIS ISSUE:
CAMPUS HIGHLIGHT...CLEAN ELECTIONS LEGISLATORS...MONEY ON MY MIND... CAMPUS ACTIONS...FACTS YOU CAN USE
CAMPUS HIGHLIGHT - UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA/WILMINGTON
At our brand new DM chapter at UNC, senior Patricia Hoen has gotten things started with a bang. Tabling and building coalitions with school clubs and community organizations, Trish is already holding regular meetings (over $2 tacos!). ”The most rewarding thing about Democracy Matters is being surrounded by motivated people who are looking to make a real difference!” she says.
On September 26, UNCW's environmental group drew 300 people to a screening of the documentary Food, Inc., co-sponsored by Democracy Matters. The post-movie panel, with Democracy Matters' Regional Organizer Megan Luce explaining how our food policies are corporately driven and how Congressional Fair Elections can change this, left people feeling empowered and willing to act.
So what's in store for UNCW now? Along with recruiting, continuing outreach, and signature gathering on Fair Elections petitions, Trish will be speaking at UNCW's "Poli-Sci Days", crafting a DM website, canvassing at the local Farmer’s Market, and working on a UNCW/DM video short. Later, she and Megan will travel to Raleigh to present a workshop on “Saving the Environment with Fair Elections” at the North Carolina regional Power Shift conference.
Democracy Matters and North Carolina are thrilled to have Trish and her new chapter on board!
CLEAN ELECTIONS LEGISLATORS
Hundreds of “clean” state and city legislators, judges, and commissioners -- elected without relying on big donors or special interests -- are today serving their constituents throughout the United States. Below are short profiles of just two:
Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor (AZ)
“Any time I have an opportunity to speak to a group of women, I encourage them to run for office, and tell them that it is possible using Clean Elections.” That’s the advice from Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, a four-term Arizona legislator and fan of the state’s Clean Elections law.
She has been an unrelenting fighter for environmental justice. Her district, largely composed of people of color, has been harshly impacted by toxic pollution. Sen. Landrum Taylor is also the Arizona Caucus Chair for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Rep. Kelvin Roldán (CT)
At 28 years old, Rep. Kelvin Roldán became the youngest Hispanic ever elected to the Connecticut General Assembly, when he first ran in 2006. By easing the barriers into the political process for those wishing to get involved and who have struggled for a voice in the past, publicly financed elections are critical. Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program has also freed Rep. Roldán to focus on important issues. “I’m concentrating now on talking about the real needs of the people that we represent,” he said. “Isn’t that what Democracy is all about?”
Learn more about Clean Elections here.
MONEY ON MY MIND
Even as the United States has become socially more liberal, Jay Mandle points out, the political process has become increasingly dependent upon and shaped by the free-market conservatism of a relatively small number of wealthy political campaign donors. This tension may yet give rise to a new broad-based social movement.
Read the full article and explore other issues of MOMM.
October is shaping up as a busy month for Democracy Matters campuses. Just a few of the events and projects include…
350 Celebrations – DM campuses will be joining the world-wide "International Day of Climate Action” on October 24th. Democracy Matters students will point out the obstacles to pro-environment policies because of big energy, oil, and gas campaign contributions - totaling $89 million since 2008.
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY) – Focusing on the struggle for democracy in Iran, Colgate DM is co-sponsoring a lecture entitled: “Understanding Iran.” DMers also will again be teaching classes on “democracy” in local area high schools.
Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) – A teach-in on “Health Care” is being organized by this Democracy Matters chapter. Featuring DM's Megan Luce, attendees will be encouraged to ask questions, form opinions, and then contact their representatives.
Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI) – Following Tom DeLay’s recent notoriety from Dancing with the Stars (in a futile effort to rehabilitate himself), Marquette DM will be screening “The Big Buy,” an award-winning documentary showing how DeLay “stole Congress.” Afterward they will be running a campus-wide “Numbers Poster Campaign,” offering information on money and politics.
Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) – One of the newest Democracy Matters chapters just began a week of outreach and voter registration, to be followed by a series of lunch-time discussions of “hot-button” political issues, beginning with clean and fair elections.
Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) - DMers are creating and performing a "Mock Election Skit" stressing the role of money in politics, and then later in the month hosting a panel discussion on Climate Change.
University of Virginia (VA), Long Island University (NY), Rutgers University (NJ), Western Washington University (WA), SUNY New Paltz (NY) and others have organized “call your rep”days and gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions to take to meetings with their elected representatives -- urging support for publicly financed campaigns.
Maryland DM chapters at Bowie State and Towson University will be hosting Democracy Matters Executive Director, Joan Mandle, for classroom lectures as well as campus-wide events on "Women, Money, and Politics" and "Building Student Leadership."
And in California, Democracy Matters chapters working with Common Cause will be showing the documentary “Broadcast Blues” demonstrating how the increasing concentration of media ownership jeopardizes our news, our information, and our political voice.
For other great ideas for campus actions and campaigns go to Action Campaigns.
FACTS YOU CAN USE
THE GOOD NEWS:
To counter the rising cost of college, the House of Representatives last month passed landmark student aid reform, allocating millions of dollars to making it easier for students to attend colleges and universities. Now we urge the Senate to support this investment in young people and in the future of our country.
THE BAD NEWS:
A recent report by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that Senate candidates (already) running for 2010 have raised more money than in any previous election cycle. In just the 6 months from January to June 2009, these candidates have raised $92.3 million – the highest ever raised in a non-campaign year. Among those who stand out are Sen. Harry Reid who has raised the most -- $5.5 million -- and Sen. Charles Schumer who presently has the most cash already on hand in his campaign “war chest” -- $14.9 million. With fundraising like this among incumbents, it is obvious that challengers have little chance. Perhaps that is why the Congressional incumbent re-election rate rarely falls below 90%. That's why we need Fair Elections NOW!
Read about the student aid reform bill here.
To honor our 2010 DMers we alphabetically list 12 DM chapters in each E-News.
Gustavus Adolphus College, Hartwick College, Indiana University, Long Island University, Marquette University, Mt. Holyoke College, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Queens College, Rutgers University, Sacramento State University...(to be continued)
More Campus Chapters.