Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mandle to speak on campus

"Clean Elections, Clean Environment"

With Dr. Joan Mandle,
Executive Director of Democracy Matters

Tuesday, April 21 at 6 p.m.
Reeve Union 307

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fair Elections Now Act Announced

Democracy Matters along with our coalition partners cheers today's introduction of the Congressional Fair Elections Now Act.

Recent revelations that AIG gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the politicians who approved the company's $170 billion federal bailout is just one reason Congress should pass the sweeping reforms introduced today.

A set of bipartisan bills, the Fair Elections Now Act, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and House Representatives John Larson (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC) was announced at 3:00 pm in the Senate Press Gallery.

Durbin defended the bill: "Today the amount of money spent in top ten competitive Senate races averages $34 million per campaign - double what it was just four years ago. It takes a mountain of money - about $7 million on average - even to lose a Senate campaign. This is not sustainable. People who say the public shouldn't have to pay for elections are missing the point: the American people already pay for elections - in ways that favor incumbents and special interests and in a Congressional agenda spawned too many times by those who finance our campaigns. Public financing will cost us only a fraction of what the current system costs."

The Fair Elections Now Act is modeled after state programs in Arizona, Maine and Connecticut. The Congressional bill would provide qualified candidates money to run a viable campaign on small donations and public funds, thus freeing candidates from raising millions in contributions from lobbyists and fundraisers.

Public Financing has strong public support. According to a recent bipartisan poll, more than two-thirds of voters (67 percent) support providing qualified congressional candidates a limited amount of public funding if they agree to take no large contributions.

Democracy Matters is joined by Common Cause, Brennan Center for Justice, Change Congress, Campus Progress, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, and many others. The Fair Elections Coalition believes voluntary public financing will allow participating candidates to spend less time fundraising, increase the diversity of candidates, and bring politicians’ focus back to the people and away from special interest groups.

Read what people are saying about the Fair Elections Now Act:

“This legislation, which is strongly supported by the NAACP, will go a long way in restoring the confidence of the American people in their elected representatives as well as the election process overall.” Hillary Shelton, Washington, DC Bureau Director, NAACP

“The Sierra Club has consistently supported reform of the campaign finance system in order to reduce the influence of polluting corporations on elected officials.” Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

“The Fair Elections Now Act opens the electoral process to Latino, African American and Asian American candidates. For too long, candidates and elected officials have been forced to chase campaign contributions, leaving them less time to listen to our communities and their constituents. This bill brings the people closer to their elected leaders.” John TrasviƱa, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Defense Fund (MALDEF)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Supreme Court Forum planned in Green Bay

A Community Forum

Monday, March 30
6:00-7:30 p.m.
Harmony Cafe
1660 W Mason Street, Green Bay

Featuring panelists from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, UW-Green Bay, Brown County Bar Association, Wisconsin State Legislature.

Snacks and refreshments provided!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Newspaper wants non-partisan judges

The Wausau Daily Herald's editorial today expressed the need for Wisconsin judges to remain non-partisan in their elections.


Officially, Supreme Court candidates are not listed with any party affiliation. However, it would be naive for us to think that their unofficial party affiliation doesn't play a huge role in their campaigns.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Democracy Matters teams up with WDC

Democracy Matters Oshkosh will be working closely with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's efforts for judicial independence in the state.

The groups' main focus will be on the state supreme court election April 7.  So far, the incumbent has out-raised her challenger about 18 to one.  

To get involved in Oshkosh or the Fox Valley, contact Steve as uwodemocracymatters@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Judge strikes a blow to non-partisan judicial elections

A federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled that judges should be allowed to join political parties and solicit campaign donations from special interest groups.
The decision might accelerate the state’s trend toward nasty, special-interest fueled, nonpartisan-in-name-only judicial campaigns, said Mike McCabe, of the
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Read the entire article here

Could this lead to the further politicalization of our judicial branch in WI?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hintz Office Hours

State Representative Gordon Hintz will be on campus 9:30-11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in Reeve Union Concourse to serve office hours. Students will have the chance to ask Rep. Hintz about the state of the budget, tuition and any other topic of concern.

This would be a great opportunity for questions and comments about campaign finance reform. Let's let Gordon know that we want him to push for clean elections in Wisconsin!

Voter guide available in Reeve

Our local election voter guide is now available in the Reeve Union concourse. Please take a couple minutes to read up on your local candidates for county executive and city council.

Also, remember to vote in the primary Tuesday, Feb. 17.

County Executive Candidates:
Mark Harris (Inc.)
Jay Schroeder
John Daggett (did not provide contact information)

Oshkosh Common Council Candidates:
Steve Cummings
John Hinz
Jessica King
Richard O'Day
Tony Palmeri
Bob Poeshl
Travis Swanson

Click here to find out where to vote

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Congressional pledge signed by D.C. legislators

Every Congressional candidate in 2008 was invited to sign a “Voters First” pledge supporting real change in our “pay-to-play” political system. Over 100 members of the new Congress signed the pledge, committing themselves to making sure that members of congress are accountable to the voters not the funders. The Pledge in part reads:

“If elected, I pledge to make elections fair by supporting a system of public financing for qualified candidates who agree to strict spending limits and take only small donations.”

See the list (find your Rep here!)

Wisconsin Congress members who support clean elections:
Sen. Russ Feingold
Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Appleton)
Rep. Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse)
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison)

Notice that our own rep, Tom Petri, is not on that list.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Next DM Meeting

The next meeting for Democracy Matters will be Wednesday (Feb 11) at 4:30 pm in Reeve Union 213. Hope to see you there!

With some important local elections and the state Supreme Court race coming up, we'll be talking about how money in politics affect different issues.

Friday, February 6, 2009

DM Prez's Letter to the Editor Published

My letter to the editor has been published in the Oshkosh Northwestern! The letter was in response to an editorial (found on the post below) about the issue of campaign finance reform.


As of right now, there have been no comments on the online version by readers, which could mean one of two things:
1) No one is reading it
2) People are reading it, but they agree (they only usually post if they're angry at the content)

Let's hope it's #2!
- Steve

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Local newspaper endorses public financing

The Oshkosh Northwestern ran an editorial last week advocating for a change in the way we run our elections in Wisconsin.


We wholeheartedly support the efforts of Common Cause and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to push for campaign finance reform and encourage our legislators to likewise support clean government measures in Wisconsin. (1/31/09)

Meeting Summary -- Feb. 4

Yesterday’s kick-off meeting was a success. We had several people there interested in our cause and have a few more that are willing to help out who couldn’t make it.

For a review, here are some of the things that were discussed at the Feb. 4 meeting:

- The problem of money in politics and how it has an effect on every other political issue we consider important today

- The upcoming Wisconsin State Supreme Court elections – money and fundraising will play a major role in a branch of government that’s supposed to be distanced from politics

- How public financing would work in an election with many candidates

- How can we make the issue of money in politics into the main stream?

We’ll be making voter guides for the upcoming local elections. Lisa will be sending out a survey to the county executive candidates, while Steve will be doing the city council candidates.

The next meeting will be Wed, Feb. 11 @ 4:30 p.m. in Reeve 213.

Friday, January 23, 2009

First Meeting of the Semester

The first meeting of the spring semester for Democracy Matters will be Wednesday, Feb. 4th at 4:30 p.m. in Reeve Union 213.

Please join us as we kick of the first official semester of D.M.!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ben & Jerry's YES Pecan!

To celebrate Americans coming together for positive change, ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s will be highlighting their butter pecan ice cream flavor under the new name, “Yes PeCAN!” The flavor will be sold in scoop shops throughout the month of January across the country.

Democracy Matters' partner, Common Cause, has been selected as the beneficiary of the some of the proceeds from the sale of this flavor! So eat lots of ice cream and join the Facebook page to support this campaign!

Click here to sign up!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Welcome to the UW-Oshkosh Democracy Matters blog! Here you will find group updates, events, and news on clean elections. Please join us as we fight to take big money out of politics and put people back in!