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David Crawley (copy)

David Crawley

If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that our government isn’t working for us. People across the political spectrum in West Virginia want to fix our broken system and create a democracy that works for us, not just for corporations and billionaires, or for politicians who line their pockets with dark money.

And so, for the past several months, the organization I work with has been building support across West Virginia for the For the People Act. Un-PAC is a nonpartisan organization of young people mobilizing to create a more functional and accountable government, and we support the For The People Act because it would reduce the ability of both parties to entrench themselves in power as they do now.

This bill would broadly reduce the role of money in politics, eliminate dark money, ban partisan gerrymandering and make it easier for working people to vote. That’s why young conservatives, independents, liberals and progressives have united to call on Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to put our democracy over partisanship and pass this bill.

Older West Virginians agree, too. The following are from interactions we have seen in the field through our organizing:

  • A Huntington woman, age 53 and a registered Democrat, was already aware of the For the People Act, but she felt that it was a hopeless endeavor. Just another bill that would get air time on TV, billboards and YouTube ads. She felt that politics was just a thing that only really affects everyday people around election time. However, she felt empowered when we knocked on her door to speak with her. Making that connection brought about a meaningful conversation that gave her some of the first hope in the system.
  • In Gilbert, we spoke to a 36-year-old man who does not subscribe to the ideology of either political party. He votes for whomever he thinks will work best for his community. Which is to say, he does not vote that often. He feels people of both parties have left his community to die, once the coal industry went away. He said he supports the For The People Act because it will help the people, and not the companies. He is tired of not having a voice, of companies funneling their cash into the pockets of politicians and undermining the public interest.
  • In Morgantown, a 68-year-old conservative man and his 59-year-old wife, both Republicans, invited us into their home and shared with us the reason they so strongly supported Donald Trump, and now support the For The People Act: They want to drain the swamp. Politicians in both political parties operate within a system of legalized corruption, making it nearly impossible to trust any of them, except an outsider like Trump, they believe. By getting dark money out of politics, the For The People Act would reduce the ability of corporations and billionaires to hijack our democracy, and empower working people.

West Virginians of all political beliefs know that our democracy is not working for us everyday working-class citizens; it works for the rich and powerful. This is not tenable, if America is to remain the country of freedom and liberty that we once were, and now aspire to be. The For the People Act will help change that dynamic and make our democracy a more fair and equal system. It is what our people want and what our state needs.

David Crawley is the director of the West Virginia chapter of Un-PAC.

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