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Readers' Views: On Election Day--Two Democrats who support government reform

Posted 10/23/12



Many voters on the campaign trail have complained about the partisan language that is floating through the media. I get their frustration.

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Readers' Views: On Election Day--Two Democrats who support government reform


This country is facing some serious challenges. Now more than ever, we have to come together to solve the problems that face us; however, in order to stop partisanship, we must put forward government reform.

On the Democratic ticket for state House and Senate we have Osman Kamara and Rob Teplitz. They have listed clear goals in terms of government reform. On the top of their list are finance reform, redistricting and open primaries.

Unfortunately, campaigns have become fund-raising battles where whoever has the most money wins. Some of the largest donors are ideological think tanks with clear agendas. Many of the annoying commercials you see are funded by super PACS that want to elect legislators who will promote their interests. If they are elected, these officials will put forward policies that benefit their donors, but nobody else.

We must strengthen the independent institutions that will work to stop this behavior, such as the Auditor General, the state Ethics Commission and the state Office of Open Records.These organizations can put an end to the unfair practices we are experiencing.

In Pennsylvania, we have seen some severe cutbacks in spending. Some of these have made fiscal sense; however, a number of them were put in place to satisfy right-wing voters’ ideologically motivated agendas. This right wing agenda does not represent what most Pennsylvanians want, but because of unfair districting these political extremists enjoy a disproportionate amount of political influence.

We need to put forward redistricting measures that give us as fair number of Republican and Democratic voters in each district. This will establish an election process where each candidate will have to appeal to voters from the other party in order to win. This will further cooperation across party lines on many important issues.

An election should be a celebration of ideas, not an ideological boxing match. In order to ensure this, we must develop a system that includes independent voters with no partisan affiliation. Open primaries can provide independent voters with a voice; and equal ballot access laws can allow all candidates to earn a spot on the ballot.

These measures are non-partisan and have support across party lines.

If enacted, we will see a more productive election process where reasonable candidates contribute to the process and are willing to work across party lines to achieve a common end. With tighter restrictions on donations we can stop the shady back door dealings that threaten to sell off our democracy to the highest bidder.

Please check out Kamara’s and Teplitz’s Web sites – they discuss government reform.
                                                                 David Madsen

(The writer is a Democratic committeeman in the second precinct of the Second Ward.)