Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 16, 2013

Official elects for a change|Movement seeks to use public dollars to fund campaigns

Niagara Gazette — ALBANY — The biggest underdog of last fall's New York state Senate elections was a farmer and school board member, who beat a wealthy, veteran politician in a district drawn by his party specifically to get him re-elected. Now, she is driving a movement designed to give candidates a shot at winning no matter how much money they have, through the public financing of campaigns.

Cecilia Tkaczyk, now a Democratic senator, is the darling of an effort nationwide to enact voluntary public financing of state-level campaigns, which was a big part of her platform to get elected.

"We have to change how we elect people to office," Tkaczyk said. "... When you change how you elect people, you will have people representing the voters more, who care what the voter thinks, rather than chasing dollars to fill their campaign coffers."

Supporters of the idea want to use public funds to match even small campaign contributions, limit big donations and restrict how funds are spent. For example, a donation up to $175 could be matched 6 to 1, giving a candidate $1,225. A $40 donation from a private citizen, a rare small donation in most elections these days, turns into $280 for the candidate.

Advocates see it as a critical alternative to campaigns dominated by wealthy special interests. The 2012 presidential campaign attracted more than $2 billion. In New York, the fall legislative elections cost $105 million to fill 212 seats, and incumbents usually won easily if they were opposed at all.

"We need a system that's one person, one vote — not one dollar, one vote," said Dan Cantor of the state's Working Families Party.

Tkaczyk herself got a critical boost of $250,000 from activist Jonathan Soros' super PAC, which seeks public financing of campaigns that would limit the influence of such groups. Her dramatic win by 18 votes after a court-ordered count that took 73 days is helping put attention on New York, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo apparently pushing what would be the state's next big policy issue.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results