Thursday, November 1, 2012

Biography of Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin

Jay Heck

Jay became the executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) in 1996. CC/WI is Wisconsin’s largest non-partisan citizens reform advocacy organization with more than 2,500 members. It is considered by Wisconsin’s major newspaper editorial boards and by pro-reform legislators of both major political parties to be Wisconsin’s most effective and influential state reform organization.

Heck and CC/WI led the statewide effort to create one of the first and the most effective on-line lobbyist reporting systems in the nation in 1998; helped to uncovered and played the lead role in highlighting illegal campaign fundraising in the State Capitol that led to the criminal charging and removal from office of five top legislative leaders of both political parties in 2001-2002; led the effort to eliminate the partisan political legislative caucus staffs involved in illegal campaign activities, saving taxpayers more than $4 million per year in 2001; led the legislative effort for the creation of a mandatory “paper trail” for all voting machines utilized in Wisconsin elections in 2006; helped devise and led in passing legislation to establish Wisconsin’s independent, non-partisan Government Accountability Board to oversee state elections, lobbying regulation and ethics in 2007; led the effort to enact into law the Impartial Justice Law which established full public financing for candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court who limited their spending to $400,000; helped devise and has led the legislative effort to pass a measure to require the disclosure of the donors to outside interest groups spending money to influence the outcome of elections; and has led in the establishing of the Iowa model as the leading redistricting reform measure in Wisconsin and united legislators and organizations behind it.

Heck moved to Wisconsin in 1988 from Washington, DC to serve as a top assistant to the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, Joseph Strohl and was the Associate Director of the State Senate Majority Democratic Caucus. He had previously spent seven years as Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Peter H. Kostmayer (D-PA). In 1980, Heck served on the national campaign staff of Independent U.S. Presidential candidate, Congressman John B.Anderson (R-IL). He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and graduated with honors from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with degrees in political science and history.