The recent arrest of State Senator Malcolm Smith should remind us all of the need for reform of elections in New York State. And if there ever was a time to do something about it, it is now. Not only will a fair election act soon be before the New York State legislature, but reform of the process is being led and championed by Governor Cuomo. All aspects of our lives— health care, education, public safety, transportation, taxes, infrastructure— are affected by our state representatives. We want legislators to think about the welfare of the people and not to be beholden to large corporations and super-wealthy individuals that make large financial contributions to candidates.
A publicly financed campaign system would free candidates from spending so much of their time and effort trying to raise huge amounts of money.
When funded by public financing, more people would have the chance to run for office; there is more discussion of public policy and a larger voter turnout. Legislators would owe little to special interests and private donors if we had an electoral system in the state where there would be only small donations and publicly funded campaigns. That is what the Fair Election Act calls for.
Assemblyman Goldfeder has shown his deep concern and compassion for the people affected by the disaster of Sandy. He has sought for improvements in our transportation and worked for the elimination of tolls on the local bridges. He has stated that he would vote in favor of a resolution of the New York State Legislature that would demand an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, the decision that led to the Super-Pacs and powerful super-wealthy individuals pouring billions of dollars into political campaigns, We should urge him to also support legislation that would lead to a fair election system in New York State. When Audrey Pheffer represented our district in the Assembly, she did declare her support for ethical reform of New York State’s electoral system and signed on to a pledge to that effect. It is to be hoped that Assemblyman Goldfeder will do so also.
A fair election system is the way to a government that cares about the will and the welfare of all the people—not that of contributors to their political campaigns. All people should have an equal voice. That’s what Democracy is. RUTH ZINAR