California Labor Federation Endorses Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act

By Press Release

The 2.1 million member California Labor Federation today endorsed Proposition 15, the California Fair Election Act. Proposition 15 is a first step towards slowing the outrageous amounts of money in politics. The Labor Fed joins the California Nurses Association, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Golden State Jobs Coalition in endorsing Proposition 15.

"Working people win with Fair Elections financing, because voters and volunteers are the currency of elections instead of big money," said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. "That's why the California Labor Fed strongly endorses Proposition 15."

Prop 15 will get politicians out of the fundraising game and back to solving California's problems, like schools, the budget crisis, and health care.

"The California Fair Elections Act will help our state implement real reform of the health care system," said Geri Jenkins, co-President of the California Nurses Association. "Nurses know that eliminating the campaign contributions from the deep-pocket special interests - the HMO's, drug companies and the insurance industry - that overwhelm our elections will free our elected representatives to work for the best interest of Californians and guarantee health care to all Californians."

Since 2000, over $1 billion has been raised by California politicians, buying special interests unprecedented access but shutting out the rest of us. Corporations outspend unions by up to a 26-1 margin. That's why polls show nearly four out of five union household support Proposition 15 and fair elections.

Authored by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, the California Fair Elections Act would establish a voluntary pilot project for California's Secretary of State races in 2014 and 2018. Candidates would qualify for public financing if they agree to strict spending prohibitions and raise a large number of $5 contributions from Californians. The pilot program would be funded primarily by fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to candidates.

"By endorsing Proposition 15, the California Labor Federation joins other union leaders in taking a bold step toward changing the way we finance election campaigns so that elected officials truly represent voters, not campaign donors," said campaign chair Trent Lange. "Nearly 400 candidates from different backgrounds have been elected with this system in seven states and two cities, showing that with Fair Elections you don't have to be wealthy or know wealthy donors to run for office and win."

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