Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Citizen Forum on State Political and Campaign Finance Reform at UW – Eau Claire this Monday Evening – April 20TH

Press Release
April 15, 2009


Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

Pro-Reform Area Legislators – State Senator Pat Kreitlow and State Representatives
Kristen Dexter and Jeff Smith are Among the Panelists

In the latest in a series of public forums that have been held around the state aimed at increasing public awareness and educating citizens about the need for campaign finance and other political reforms in Wisconsin, Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) is sponsoring a panel and citizen discussion entitled: "What Ever Happened to Good Government in Wisconsin? How We Can Fix It And Why It Matters During A Recession.” This event, in which the audience can actively participate, will be held on Monday, April 20th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in Room 102 of Hibbard Humanities Hall – Garfield and Park Avenues in Eau Claire.

Panelists include State Senator Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls and State Representatives Kristen Dexter and Jeff Smith – both of Eau Claire. Also on the panel is Tom Giffey, the Editorial Page Editor of the Eau Claire Leader Telegram and Jay Heck, the Executive Director of CC/WI, the state’s largest non-partisan political reform advocacy organization with more than 3,000 members statewide. The Chair of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire Political Science department, Professor Rodd Freitag, will moderate the event.

“During the last seven years, Wisconsin has had to endure its most serious political scandal in state history – the Legislative Caucus Scandal – replete with criminal indictments for illegal campaign fund raising and jail sentences. Then there were the most expensive, negative and demoralizing elections for State Supreme Court (in 2007 and 2008) in our history and a nearly $35 million election for Governor in 2006 with another as expensive and nasty (or even more so) on the horizon for next year. All of this demonstrates the growing, corrupting influence of political money in Wisconsin today,” said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

“This forum seeks to better inform the citizens of the greater Eau Claire area about the critical link between campaign finance reform and the everyday concerns and issues that directly affect their lives. We want to explain why – during this economic recession when resources and funding for state programs are in very short supply and cuts are being made – the need for campaign finance reform is even more urgent than ever. And we want to hear what the citizens of this area have to say about all of this," Heck said.

Joining Common Cause in Wisconsin in co-sponsoring the event is the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund, the American Association of University Women – Eau Claire Branch, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire Political Science Department and the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.

The panel will take questions from the audience following their presentations and citizens will have an opportunity to voice their opinions about reform and corruption in state government as well.

This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The Eau Claire event is the seventh in a series of forums organized by Common Cause in Wisconsin throughout the state to help educate Wisconsinites about the need for political reform. Previous reforms forums have been held in Green Bay, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Madison and Sturgeon Bay. Support for these forums is provided by the Joyce Foundation. For more information, call 608/256-2686, e-mail or visit our website at