For Immediate Release:
Contact: Susan Lerner
January 4, 2012
Comm Common Cause/NY Responds to Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address
In response to Governor Cuomo's second annual State of the State address, Common Cause/NY Executive Director, Susan Lerner, released the following statements:
Campaign Finance Reform
"The Governor struck a significant blow for democracy today. Public financing of elections is at the core of campaign finance reform and we applaud his outstanding commitment to increasing political participation. Our politics is out of control, undermined by the myriad loop holes used to skirt campaign contribution limits and the lack of meaningful enforcement. The Governor understands that an engaged citizenry is essential to preserving our democracy."
"Common Cause/NY applauds Governor Cuomo for his unwavering commitment to non-politicized redistricting maps. The Governor knows that gerrymandering prioritizes political self-interest over the interests of the people, which is why Common Cause has designed the only set of reform alternative maps for state and federal office. There is no practical impediment -- only a political one -- to achieving fair, non-politicized district lines. As we move through the redistricting process, we will work to support the Governor and help insure that New Yorkers get the democracy they deserve."
In December, Common Cause/NY released a set of proposed Congressional and State maps drawn according to good government principles. The maps are available at citizensredistrictny.org and as an interactive format called UMapNY at Newsday.com/UMapNY.
In producing reform maps, Common Cause/NY is responding to the current redistricting process which is characterized by partisanship and political self interest, with maps drawn behind closed doors. The Legislative Task Force on Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) is a bipartisan commission of legislators, and legislative staffers, responsible for redrawing electoral lines every ten years to reflect changes in the census. However, there has been increased debate about the democratic validity of the process, since legislators routinely draw lines to reflect their own needs, rather than the needs of real New Yorkers. Common Cause/NY has attended many LATFOR hearings, with running analysis on its blog: http://www.citizenredistrictny.org/blog/.
Common Cause is a leader in redistricting reform around the nation. Common Cause California wrote and helped to pass the Voters First Initiative in California in 2008 which set up the first Citizens' Redistricting Commission in the U.S. which is currently in the process of drawing new political boundaries transparently and with public input. Common Cause Minnesota helped pass a referendum in Minneapolis that removes political parties from the redistricting process by having a judge appoint members of the redistricting commission. Common Cause strongly supported and helped pass the Fair Districts Florida initiatives in 2010 that set new rules for redrawing legislative and congressional lines which prohibit drawing districts to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party.
Office: Common Cause New York
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.