CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – New York State Senate candidate Justin Wagner (D-Croton-on-Hudson) is focusing on the influence of money in political campaigns.
During a press conference Thursday morning in Chappaqua, Wagner said he is making campaign-finance reform the centerpiece of his campaign against incumbent State Sen. Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) in the 40th Senate District, which includes Lewisboro, Somers, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Yorktown, Cortlandt, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, New Castle and Mount Pleasant in Westchester and parts of Putnam and Dutchess.
“As a candidate for the State Senate, I live the absurdity of our campaign finance system every single day,” Wagner said. “It’s a system here in New York that you can give four times as much to a state senator or a state Senate candidate than to the president of the United States.”
Wagner said loopholes in the law allow for donors to give upwards of $100,000 to a single candidate if they wanted. The large contributions, Wagner said, create a relationship between big donors and politicians that is “ripe for corruption.”
“When our lawmakers are spending all that time chasing wealthy donors and well-connected special interests, we get laws that are disproportionately geared towards the wealthy and well-connected,” Wagner said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo included campaign finance reform among his 2012 goals and mentioned it during January’s State of the State address.
Jessica Wisneski, legislative director of Citizen Action New York, joined Wagner in Chappaqua and supports him in his candidacy and quest to “reform Albany.”
“We do have some great allies in this long-time fight to finally get something done in Albany, to reclaim our democracy for the regular folks; the people of New York State,” Wisneski said. “Not the top one percent and corporations who are now influencing Albany.”