As New York policymakers, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, consider a comprehensive package of campaign finance reform, they should look at Connecticut to see just how much a strong small-donor public financing program can improve the legislative process and relieve lawmakers of the burdens of high-donor, special-interest fundraising.
As former and present Connecticut secretaries of state, we are very proud of our Citizens' Election Fund, which began providing voluntary public financing for our legislative and statewide campaigns in 2008. As former legislators, we understand intimately the fundraising aspects of standing for election, and how frustrating special interest influences can be to the legislative process.
Read the report Fresh Start: The Impact of Public Financing in Connecticut
Just as a comprehensive campaign finance program in New York could do, the Connecticut model requires participating candidates to raise funds from a minimum number of small donors in their districts, making everyday constituents the focus of a candidate's time and energy. Even after only three election cycles, the evidence is clear that the program is beginning to change the state capital for the better.