We, as members of Represent.Us Central New Jersey, asked the four Assembly candidates in District 16 whether they would support, yes or no, anti-corruption legislation. Represent.Us is a national, cross-partisan campaign to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states across the country so we can stop lobbyists and special interests from bribing politicians who are supposed to be representing us.
On July 14, 2014, Princeton made history as the nation’s first municipality to approve a resolution based on “the American Anti-Corruption Act” (www.anticorruption.org). The resolution called on “representatives [of] the 16th district New Jersey state legislature to support and introduce anti-corruption legislation.” We took up the cause.An Anti-Corruption Act has three primary outcomes:
� Stop political bribery by overhauling lobbying and ethics laws.
� End secret money by dramatically increasing transparency.
� Give every voter a voice by creating citizen-funded elections.
It ends the vise-grip that big money and power have on our politics and restores the people as the most important stakeholders in our political system.We gave the Assembly candidates an Oct. 1 deadline to respond. How did we do?
On the Republican side, the two incumbents either said “no” or ignored us. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said, “In my mind, [there] is not justification necessarily for introducing bills on issues as weighty as these.” Assemblywoman Donna Simon ignored us.
As for the Democrats, Andrew Zwicker said “yes” and committed to introducing and supporting anti-corruption legislation. His running mate, Maureen Vella, did not reply.
When you mark your Assembly ballot this fall, you need to move these positions to the top of your list. No matter what you care about — taxes, schools, repairing roads and bridges, gun violence — nothing significant will happen until we end the corruption and strangle-hold of big money on our politics.
David M. Goodman