LOS ANGELES – By a unanimous vote the delegates of the National Latino Congreso endorsed a resolution specifically calling for public financing of election campaigns in California. In so doing, the Congreso sets the stage for millions of California Latinos to embrace Proposition 89, an initiative on the November ballot which would enact a broad system of public financing of political campaigns for all statewide offices.
The Congreso, which continues on through Saturday, marks the first comprehensive gathering of Latino leaders, organizations and elected officials since 1977. Over 2000 delegates from all across the country are expected to participate. The goal of the Congreso is to establish a long- term Latino agenda and action plan.
“The Clean Elections program in Arizona has greatly strengthened the Latino voice in the political process. It has opened the doors of democracy to allow more Latinos to run for office and has increased Latino voter turnout,” said Rep. Steven Gallardo (D-Phoenix), an Arizona state legislator who has been elected to office with traditional private campaign financing and under the Arizona clean public money system.
“With a Clean Money system, each community plays a dominant role in choosing who will represent them in Sacramento. Prop. 89 will allow Latino communities to choose their leaders without a veto from wealthier communities who dole out campaign contributions,” said Felipe Agredano, outreach coordinator for the California Clean Money Campaign, an organization which promotes a system of public financing of elections in California.
“Prop. 89 will allow Latino districts to more directly focus on the needs of Latinos because the people dictate the decisions, not corporate or special interests,” continued Agredano.
If passed by California voters on November 7th, Proposition 89 would establish a voluntary “Clean Money” system for full public funding of election campaigns modeled upon successful programs already in place in Arizona and Maine and recently adopted by Connecticut. It is designed to level the election playing field, open up the ballot to more good candidates, and stop political corruption by making elected officials accountable to voters, not big money donors.
The National Latino Congreso is convened by a number of organizations including the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), and the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI).