Too many elected officials seem more interested in their own job security than in ours. They spend much of their time trolling for dollars among the industries they’re supposed to be regulating.
The special interests they court are happy to oblige, lavishing millions on members of Congress in exchange for individual attention and the influence that comes with it. It’s not hard to follow the money: an oil company gets a tax break, a senator gets a television ad, we get the bill. For the nation’s biggest corporations, the price of a pliable politician is not just a bargain; it’s a steal.
Pay-to-play politics have corrupted our democracy. By selling public offices to the highest bidders, this system rigs the odds of winning, warps the pool of candidates who run, and distorts the decisions they make when elected.
Just as troubling, many of the same politicians and interest groups seek to sabotage democracy itself. They undermine voting rights, erecting barriers to block people of color and low-income citizens from participating. They gerrymander Congressional districts, allowing representatives to pick their constituents instead of the other way around.
How do we change this? We reform campaign finance, curb the power of plutocrats, and protect voting rights. We jam the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists. We elect people who owe their allegiance to the people they represent, rather than their corporate contributors.
- Strengthen the Voting Rights Act by repairing the damage the Supreme Court did in Shelby County.
- Guarantee every eligible voter free and equal access to the polls.
- Make Election Day a federal holiday.
- Implement Automatic Voter Registration across the country.
- Ensure ample early voting hours, absentee voting, and adequate polling locations nationwide.
- Prohibit discriminatory voter identification requirements and ensure secure and common-sense alternatives.
- Restore voting rights to felons upon release from incarceration.
- Limit voter purges targeting inactivity.
- Promote independent redistricting commissions to end partisan gerrymandering.
- Eradicate “dark money” and require full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions and political expenditures.
- Secure all poll books and voting machines, including an accurate paper trail for mandatory post-election audits.
- Prohibit members of Congress from serving on corporate boards or as lobbyists.
- Strengthen the enforcement of ethics laws, including registration requirements for foreign agents.
- Require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
- Amend the Constitution to reverse the Supreme Court’s decisions in both Buckley and Citizens United.
- Provide statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
I’m leading by example: I refuse to accept contributions from special-interest groups. My campaign is powered instead by people—actual human beings, not the corporations the Supreme Court defines as people.
As speaker of the Colorado House, I championed efforts to make state government more transparent and accountable. We enforced open-meeting laws, required public testimony and an up-or-down vote on every bill, and removed patronage positions from the chamber’s staff.
I sponsored bills to restrict lawmakers from accepting gifts and to increase the penalties on candidates who failed to disclose their contributors. I fought GOP attempts to gut our campaign-finance laws. And I created the Colorado Channel—televising legislative sessions for the first time in state history.