College and University Faculty and Administrators Letter
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Honorable Andrew M Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224
Members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
Dear Governor Cuomo and Members of the New York State Legislature,
As college and university faculty and administrators, we mentor and educate young people to become active and engaged citizens in a democracy. For them to willingly and successfully to take on that role however, the rules governing the electoral process must not amplify the voices of some while diminishing those of the rest.
Young people famously feel ignored by the political process – cynical about the unfair influence over the political system that today’s campaign finance laws provide to persons and groups with extraordinary wealth. Large campaign contributors receive special access to elected officials and it is their needs and preferences that too often are reflected in legislative outcomes.
Our students care deeply about the world around them, witnessed by the many hours they contribute to volunteer activities in their communities. But they tend to eschew their political responsibilities as citizens all too often because they feel the process is tainted and corrupted by the dominant role of private money.
For these reasons, we believe that the New York State Legislature must address the problems of the current campaign finance system in the state. We have been inspired to learn that New York’s elected officials are taking a lead on this issue. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address strongly called for public financing of campaigns and other needed electoral reforms to be a priority in 2012. And we are encouraged that in the past Speaker Silver and the New York State Assembly have supported instituting a system of campaign financing similar to the New York City system, a system that has been successful for over twenty years.
With a new law that institutes a public financing system, meaningful enforcement, and reasonable contribution limits, average New Yorkers – including our students and other young people – would again come to trust their government and be empowered to more fully participate in the political process.
We applaud your strong commitment to an inclusive democracy that serves all the people of New York. We pledge to work among our colleagues to encourage support for your reform efforts. With passage of campaign finance reform legislation, we will again be able proudly to encourage our students, families, and friends to reject cynicism and actively engage their government as citizens.