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2007 may offer best chance for publicly funded campaigns in W.Va.
 

This should be the year for public funding of campaigns
 

West Virginians take on the Fat Cats

March 1, 2007
Photos by Janet Keating, unless otherwise noted
Clean Elections Lobby Day

Thanks to Citizens for Clean Elections, the first Clean Elections Day at the State Capitol was a terrific success a day of democracy in action!

Over 50 people came to the State Capitol to tell senators and delegates why Clean Elections is right for West Virginia, and why the time is now.

During the lobby training/breakfast at Temple Israel, participants watched Public Campaigns latest Clean Elections DVD Clean Elections Changing the Face of America, narrated by journalist Bill Moyers (copies available by calling 304-522-0246).

After a briefing session, teams of citizens headed for the Capitol, where they were joined by other supporters for an exceptional press conference.

Speakers were Gary Zuckett (CAG), Fr. Brian ODonnell (Catholic Conference), Larry Matheney (AFL-CIO), Rev. Dennis Sparks (Council of Churches), Richie Robb (Mayor of South Charleston), Janet Keating (Citizens for Clean Elections), and Senator Vic Sprouse.

Senator Sprouse made a wonderful statement about the skyrocketing costs of running for office, and made it clear that he would rather be able to talk more with his constituents. Clean Elections is an obvious answer to both difficulties!

The press conference was featured on Beth Voorhees Legislative Update on WVPBS and also in the Friday morning segment on WV Public Radio.

Lurking in the back of the press conference room was a special interest "Fat Cat" (Carol Warren) whose pockets bulged with "Fat Cat" $1,000 bills!

On any given day at the legislature, ordinary citizens are apt to encounter numerous special interest Fat Cats whose "generous" campaign contributions fund the majority of legislative campaigns. In return, the Fat Cats receive unfair access to "our" politicians.

A voluntary public funding system like West Virginias proposal would help level the playing field and make lawmakers more accountable to the public.

Wearing pins picturing a cigar smoking, special interest "Fat Cat" with a red slash over it (i.e. NO FAT CATS!) and armed with fact sheets and Clean Elections talking points, citizens divided into several teams and spent the rest of the day educating legislators about the need for public financing of campaigns.

The breadth and depth of our coalition is so powerful! We made lots of positive contacts with legislators.

The Fat Cat gained the attention of citizens and employees in the Capitol and even some of the legislators were brave enough to be seen talking with her.

Congratulations to Helaine Rotkin, a former Kanawha County legislator and active participant in Citizens for Clean Elections who was recognized from the floor of the state Senate by Clean Elections co-sponsor, Sen. Jon Hunter.

And a big thanks to everyone who took part in this historic Clean Elections Day! A special thanks to our gracious hosts at Temple Israel.

We need you to be a Clean Elections supporter, too. For current updates and more information about Clean Elections in West Virginia, see our website,  www.wvoter-owned.org.

Below are photos from the event.

Posing for a picture with a special interest "Fat Cat" are, from left, Helaine Rotkin, Tonya Adkins, the Fat Cat (Carol Warren), Mayor Richie Robb, Kathryn Stone and Jesse Johnson.
Posing for a picture with a special interest "Fat Cat" are, from left, Helaine Rotkin, Tonya Adkins, the Fat Cat (Carol Warren), Mayor Richie Robb, Kathryn Stone and Jesse Johnson.

The crowd is briefed on Clean Elections.
The crowd is briefed on Clean Elections.

Senator Vic Sprouse at the press conference.
Senator Vic Sprouse at the press conference.

Clean Elections supporters from organized labor, faith-based groups, environmental organizations, good government groups, and community groups gather in the Governor's Conference room for a press conference. Janet Keating addresses the crowd. Photo by Hillary Hosta.
Clean Elections supporters from organized labor, faith-based groups, environmental organizations, good government groups, and community groups gather in the Governor's Conference room for a press conference. Janet Keating addresses the crowd. Photo by Hillary Hosta.

WV Citizen Action Groups Gary Zuckett with the Fat Cat (Carol Warren) to show how its done. In an actual lobbying situation, the Fat Cat would not be flashing her cash in public. Photo by Don Garvin
WV Citizen Action Groups Gary Zuckett with the Fat Cat (Carol Warren) to show how its done. In an actual lobbying situation, the Fat Cat would not be flashing her cash in public. Photo by Don Garvin

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