Meet John Doe: Local residents to vote on anti-corruption question this April

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Local residents are taking aim on political corruption in 2015. Members of the local Represent.Us chapter asked the Winnebago County Board to pass a “Resolution Calling for an Advisory Referendum Related to Anti-Corruption Reform.” The board voted in favor of the resolution. This advisory question, a poll, really, will be on the April 7, 2015, election ballot. Mark your calendar.

If you vote for nothing else this April, please support this advisory question, which reads:

Do you support reducing the corrupting influence of money on our political system by prohibiting politicians from taking campaign money from the special interests they regulate; increasing transparency for campaign funding; empowering all voters through a tax rebate voucher to contribute to the candidates they support; prohibiting representatives and senior staff from lobbying activity for five years after they leave office; and placing limits on superPAC-campaign coordination?”

Elizabeth Lindquist is a local Represent.Us organizer and I asked her some questions about the ballot measure and Represent.Us.

Regarding the “problem” of big money in politics, Lindquist states:

The corrupting influence of money in politics isn’t just a problem, it is destroying our representative democracy, our republic. Representatives are primarily representing their campaign funders instead of their constituents. We have corrupted our system of representation. This is not what the founders intended. We have no hope of solving the myriad of other problems we have until we fix this one.”

The local Represent.Us group is “fiercely” non-partisan, and quoting Lindquist:

Many groups say this, but we fight for it. We focus only on this issue and have worked hard to include people of all political stripes. We discuss nothing at our meetings other than the corrupting influence of money in politics and what we can do to stop it. Our plan was specifically formulated to be one that there is no principled conservative or liberal objection to. We avoid divisive language. It is not easy, but it is absolutely necessary to achieve the comprehensive reform we need.”

A non-partisan group, dedicated to solving a problem that is destroying our political system. Wow, that sounds just like the stuff this column was created to discuss. Expect reminders about this ballot measure in the next few months. I cannot stress enough how important this “poll” is.

Spring elections in odd years, like the election in April, usually suffer from low voter turnout. I am certain some elected leaders know this and are hoping that you simply ignore this election and ballot measure. Buck the trend and get out and vote.

Send a message to local leaders that you are tired of big money influencing politics and vote “Yes” to the “Resolution Calling for an Advisory Referendum Related to Anti-Corruption Reform” on April 7, 2015. You may also vote early or by absentee ballot — no need to wait for April 7. Not registered to vote? March 10, 2015, is the last day to register to vote before the April election.

Learn more about the local Represent.Us group at: http://www.facebook.com/AntiCorruptionAct. The national website is at: http://represent.us.

Paul Gorski (paul@paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Dec. 31, 2014-Jan. 6, 2015, issue

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