The Power of the People

Jake G.

Chapel Hill, NC

Posted on 10 Jun

I believe in Common Cause's work because I believe the power of the people should triumph over the power of money in a well-functioning democracy. In 2009 I served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor Campaign in Chapel Hill. It was his first mayoral campaign, and he ran using public campaign financing or as a "voter owned candidate" as we called it.

Even though he had less money than his opponent, he won by about 100 votes and has been winning re- elections ever since. Another city council person likewise ran as a voter owned candidate and despite being outspent was still able to get her message out and win with more votes than anyone else. I felt so empowered knowing that as a $20 donor, I was literally tied as the top donor to the campaign, and I could get my elected officials on the phone when I had a concern.

Between that and other political activism experiences I was inspired to go to grad school and get a Master of Public Administration degree graduating in 2011. I've been working with a nonpartisan nonprofit called Democracy North Carolina that does voting rights and money in politics work ever since, and we regularly partner with Common Cause in that work. I currently work as our Volunteer Coordinator.

I appreciate Common Cause for its values, for its work in my home state of North Carolina that is a battleground this year, and for the national reach you all bring. I hope and expect to see great work continue at the state and national level around disclosure bills, public campaign financing bills, and restoring the Voting Rights Act.


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