Embargoed Until:September 26, 2005
Contact: Barry Kauffman
Common Cause/PA Executive Director,
Barry Kauffman Comments for
"Rock the Capitol" Rally
Welcome Home Pennsylvanians.
There is a clear clean fresh breeze blowing across the capitol plaza today. It is a wind of change. For far too many years, Pennsylvania's citizens have been sleeping, oblivious to the decay that has seriously damaged state government in Pennsylvania. Today that ends.
Behind us is the Peoples' House -- Your House, and we intend to take it back. We intend to clean it up. We intend to fix it up. We intend to restore honor to the work that goes on within it.
The Independence Day Weekend Payjacking was a wake-up call. It has aroused Pennsylvanians in a way we have not seen for decades. The extraordinary and far-reaching violations of our state constitution used to achieve this legislator enrichment program have infuriated Pennsylvanians from Philadelphia to Erie; from Pittsburgh to Scranton; and all points in between. It has lit a firestorm in newspapers, on talk radio, on the internet, and throughout citizen organizations across the ideological spectrum. And that firestorm is gaining strength long after the pundits predicted its burn-out.
The payraise scandal is only the tip of a very large dangerous iceberg. But, it has alerted Pennsylvanians to a wide range of serious problems in state government. We are beginning to understand why state government is not serving the peoples' needs. The problems include a lack of fair and competitive elections that rob Pennsylvanians of accountable government; a lack of regulation of lobbyists; a lack of citizen access to government records; a lack of enforcement of the sunshine law; a, lack of reasonable representation in the state budgeting process; and a lack of citizen-triggered safety valves in the system. Other states have accomplished reforms remedying these problems -- Pennsylvania must do so as well.
For our representative democracy to survive and thrive, it must be open; it must be accountable; and it must be responsive to the citizens. Today, it is none of these things.
Today's rally promises hope that democracy is alive in Pennsylvania. Today's rally serves notice that we the people are going to take back our government. Today's rally serves notice that we the people intend to enforce the state constitution -- that document which is our contract with public officials dictating the terms and conditions by which we agree to be governed.
Today we commit ourselves to the hard work ahead that is necessary to restore government of, by, and for the people in Pennsylvania. We pledge not to rest until that mission is accomplished.
And as for the payraise -- our demand of legislators is:
REPEAL - REPAY - REFORM - OR RESIGN
And on behalf of our fellow citizens we promise:
We Will Remember
When We Vote in May and November
Office: Common Cause Pennsylvania
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.