Ken, Kansas

Dear America,

My experience with the American political system started as a 11-year old passing out campaign literature in the presidential election campaign in 1940. Fast forward to my college age years when I joined a local political party and became educated about getting people out to vote in both the primary and general election. All of this occurred in the state of Kansas.

Later I worked for two congressmen on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. At this point I had the opportunity to knock on doors in elections and encourage voters to support candidates.

Getting more people voting should be the goal of all who believe in making democracy work. This takes education about democracy which translates into persuading people to vote in every election!

Sincerely,

Ken, Kansas

William, Washington

Dear America,

Greed is where our country’s path has gone as far as our government goes. our elected officials have put money ahead of peoples lives. Our officials are primarily millionaires if not billionaires. and the less fortunate people suffer, because their don’t want to cut into their pockets by doing the right things and helping the less fortunate. Most of us worked 40 to 50 years or more and paid into social security to get a retirement that would possibly help them make it through their retirement, struggling some. However our government put to use our money and then told us we don’t have money to fund social security and medicare. Instead of helping make it better, they keep cutting it every year, so now people who put money into this program gets less and less money (nowhere near keeping up with inflation costs). So most of our seniors are below poverty levels and now you want to cut that money even more. You politicians have taken our rights to a fair retirement to what give more money to the rich and big business in tax breaks. Shame on you as a whole. As you seem to believe in the out of sight, out of mind concepts, because it doesn’t affect you. I’m more fortunate then most, but it sickens me how our government doesn’t govern most of American people, but just the top 5% of our super rich people seem to enjoy the fruits of retirement.

Sincerely,

William, Washington

James, Texas

Dear America,

We no longer have a country by the people, for the people but a country who’s greed is way out of hand. When a corporation is considered a human entity and billionaire special interests can by any political system or individual they want, something has really gone wrong. I served my country for 25 years in the Army, now I’m a disabled veteran. That was my choice. We must start change by eliminating the antiquated electoral college and let the people elect our leaders, not special interests! In order to do this the dark money tap has got to be stopped. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, liberty, and above all truth, must be part of our foundation.

Sincerely,

James, Texas

Bob, Minnesota

Dear America,

I was very grateful when Minnesota passed the voucher legislation. I felt helpless that I could not financially support candidates that shared my values. Candidates that I did not support often were receiving financial support form individuals and corporations. It was not fair to sometimes have people win elections simply by outspending their opponent. The vouchers created a more level playing field that is vital to a true democracy.

I would like for this to go even further. I support every candidate being held to a specified amount that can be spent an election. The money that goes into political campaigns could feed every child/family in this country that goes with no or little food each day.

Sincerely,

Bob, Minnesota

James, Texas

Dear America,

We as a nation are in dire need of fundamental campaign finance reform measures. Numerous pressing issues (climate change, food labeling, gun safety, immigration reform, prison reform, education reform, short-term lending regulation, healthcare reform, banking regulation, opioid regulation) remain vexing problems primarily due to corporations’ ability to curry favor with elected officials. The corrupting influence of money in our political system is undermining our democratic traditions and discouraging Americans from voting and/or running for office. This ominous development may well end our experiment in representative democracy unless we alter this decades-long trend. For the sake of the republic, we must amend the US Constitution to state that corporations are not people (and do not have constitutional rights) and money is not speech (and thus can be regulated by state and/or federal campaign finance laws). Short of accomplishing this, no other reform of significance will be achieved. The moneyed interests will turn any reform to their benefit, often at the expense of the nation as a whole.

Sincerely,

James, Texas

Paul, Massachusetts

Dear America,

Massachusetts has a bottle deposit law, but it only covers carbonated beverages. The state legislature declined for 10 years to vote on our bill to include bottled water, so we gathered 150,000 signatures and put it on the ballot. At first, polls showed a significant majority in favor of the bill. Then came $8 million in misleading attack ads from the food and beverage industry, and we lost in November. Score: Powerful Special Interests – 1, We the People – 0.

Sincerely,

Paul, Massachusetts

Will, Pennsylvania

Will Fuller
Will came to this work “through his faith, not in spite of,” and works to help others make the connection between faith and justice.

Where Faith Meets Democracy

Religion can lead a person many places – ministry, community service, volunteer work – but for Will Fuller, his faith brought him to democracy advocacy.

Will is a Community Organizer at POWER, a multi-racial, multi-faith social justice network serving the Philadelphia and Harrisburg regions. He believes in numerous causes including education, equity, immigration, health care, and criminal justice reform. The keystone to all these? Reforming the gerrymandering that keeps progress on these issues stagnant. Will came to this work “through his faith, not in spite of,” and works to help others make the connection between faith and justice.

“This is a specific action that God speaks up about.”

When explaining why he believes in fairer districts, Will cites scripture. He points to passages in the Old Testament about drawing property lines fairly. He says, “this is a specific action that God speaks up about.” He sees gerrymandering reform as an opportunity to “bring us closer to the vision of equality and justice that God has for the world.” It would dramatically impact the issues POWER works on, as well as the communities they work with.

Ready to tell your story?

Tony, Pennsylvania

Tony Crocamo

“No one has given their life for America to make sure that one party has an advantage in an election.”

Veteran Tony Crocamo believes in fighting for a country that honors our democratic voice, and is empowering others to use their own voice to speak up.

Honoring Veterans’ Sacrifice by Strengthening Our Democracy

Donning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, veteran Tony Crocamo believes that those who die in combat for America did not do so “so we could have safe districts for politicians where they couldn’t lose an election.” He says, “No one has given their life for America to make sure that one party has an advantage in an election. For politicians – people in power – to hold onto that advantage is dishonest to anyone who has ever given their life for America. These politicians talk about honoring veterans and honoring their sacrifice and they trash it with their self-serving redistricting.” Without gerrymandering reform, he says these aren’t “races, they’re victory laps.”

Tony is no stranger to politics either. He’s served as Township Supervisor and a Zoning Board member. He was the first Democrat elected to the position in over 30 years, and represented his party alone on the board. He says it taught him how to work in a bipartisan fashion, to be able to engage in open conversation. He takes those skills to Fair Districts PA, where he established their statewide Speaker’s Bureau and coaches speakers. He believes courts, the press, and the people should all be furious about the current state of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, and is using the power of stories and dialogue to draw attention to this issue.

Ready to tell your story?