There is no other single piece of legislation that can positively, directly and immediately impact the number of women and minority candidates that can successfully compete for office than public financing of elections.
Governor Cuomo has again introduced legislation to reform campaign finance and offer a matching system of public financing of elections.
The real world impact can be profound. This allows candidates who come to the race with passion, experience and vision but without a network of high worth donors to be viable in a campaign.
For women this can be a game changer.
It is a fact that no candidate enjoys raising money. But women are particularly wary of having to ask for financial support. That is the most common reason many of them say no to running for office.
By allowing candidates to take matching funds for small donations women will be more likely to say yes to running for office. We will attract more talented, experienced candidates who can bring real solutions to the problems government is expected to tackle.
The Brennan Center at NYU sent this email today updating members on the latest regarding the Governor’s campaign finance reform:
The 2014 New York State Budget:
When the Governor unveiled his 2014 budget on January 21 it included the entirety of the ethics and campaign finance bill he introduced at the end of the legislative session last year. In a nutshell, the Governor’s proposal will close campaign finance loopholes, reduce contribution limits for all races, provide for professional, nonpartisan enforcement of campaign finance laws, and greatly increase disclosure of outside income earned by the state’s officials. Most important, it calls for public funding of legislative races beginning in 2016, and all statewide races starting in 2018. The revenue will come from a $40 check-off on individual New York State income tax returns and the proceeds of the abandoned property fund.
This is the first time that Governor Cuomo has taken this important step in his quest to enact comprehensive ethics and campaign finance reform. It is the opinion of Albany observers that the Governor’s legislative influence is at its peak during budget negotiations. Indeed, as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman noted in a speech on January 23: “This week, for the first time in our history, a governor, our governor, my friend and client, our governor, has put the language needed to create a system of public financing and real enforcement of our campaign laws into his state budget.” Schneiderman continued, “Ladies and gentlemen, I did an ungodly amount of hard time in the state Senate before I got to be the attorney general, and I will tell you, based on that experience, that once you have language in the budget, the legislature can try to stop it, but at the end of the day the Governor has the power.”
Campaign Finance Reform, particularly public financing of elections is a powerful tool for electing more women to office. Please call your state elected officials today and encourage them to support the Governor’s call for campaign finance reform in 2014!