The richest of the 1 percent have increasingly been able to put their mark on our democracy. Their values and interests differ from those of everyday Americans, and their mega-dollars diminish the votes and power of the rest of us. But we have the power to build a people-powered democracy. People need to get involved and adopt common sense reforms at the local, state, and federal level to ensure that the American people have a say in our government and the policy choices they make.
Concrete steps like the 2015 measure for clean, accountable elections in Maine and democracy vouchers in Seattle promote fair and just standards that eliminate barriers for people from all walks of life to run for office, not just a wealthy few. These reforms make a real impact on the lives of minorities, young people, people with disabilities, and working people. For instance, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to require paid sick leave for most employees. The passage of that law followed closely on the adoption of a law to fund campaigns with small contributions only. Not only are their solutions, there is a growing movement of people committed to solve the problem.