OPINION: Silver arrest should serve as wake-up call
Letter to the Editor
The January 2015 arrest of New York State Assemblymember Sheldon Silver on corruption charges was an explicit example of what voters have known for years: our political system works to represent big money interests instead of the people. This scandal should serve as a wake-up call that elected officials need to stand up for the millions of Americans who desperately want their voices heard in Washington.
Luckily, New York City has blazed a trail for putting government back in the hands of the people by enacting reform that fundamentally changes the way campaigns are funded. Since New York City enacted a system of citizen-funded elections in 1989, politicians have been listening closely to small donors instead of wealthy special interests.
Congress has taken note of New York City’s successful system. Leaders from both parties have supported The Government by the People Act (H.R. 20), which enacts a system of citizen-funded elections similar to New York City’s. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been a leader on this crucial issue before, but is not yet co-sponsoring the latest version of the Government by the People Act. It’s time for Rep. Jeffries to step up to support the same system that has successfully served New York City for decades.
—Rohan Siddhanti lives in Brooklyn and works at a healthcare startup. He is active in local politics and is passionate about getting big money out of politics.
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