West Virginians take on the Fat
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"
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,
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.
|The crowd is briefed on Clean Elections.
|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.
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