Local chapter of Represent.Us working to address government corruption

David Goodman, Princeton
The effectiveness of local action and initiative to address vexing social and political challenges is clear. The two best examples are marriage equality and marijuana legalization. Neither was getting anywhere with the Congress so activists turned to grassroots campaigns in cities and states. The results haven’t always been uniform and the road seems long but, steadily, with local people working on the issues a consensus has emerged across the country.
Can this happen with gun control, too? Yes, the lines that separate us seem deep and the chance for national agreement remote. But, recently the Supreme Court let stand an appellate court decision upholding a ban on high-capacity magazines and certain automatic rifles in a municipality, Highland Park, Illnois. Is the door opening for reasonable local regulation within the framework of the Second Amendment? (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/10/opinion/we-can-regulate-guns-at-the-local-level-t.html?_r=0)
And, too, municipal resolutions and ballot initiatives are challenging the corruption of money on politics. Our towns in central New Jersey, in Princeton and Ewing Township, have led the way in approving anti-corruption resolutions. Represent.Us, a cross-partisan non-profit, has worked with elected officials in these towns. Their resolutions are drawn from the American Anti-Corruption Act, model legislation that sets a standard for anti-corruption laws at the city, state and federal levels (www.anticorruptionact.org).
Council members in both towns reflect their constituents in approving these resolutions. The overwhelming majority of residents are concerned about the “pay to play” culture, the corruption of politics, and the need for campaign finance reform. In the words of Ewing’s business administrator, “We had no issue supporting this [resolution]. It was a good thing.“
Now, we are working with elected officials in Lawrence Township, and hope to add their voice — and votes — to this movement as together we build out a consensus in the Garden State. We will have more to say about this for readers of these pages and on the Web in 2016. 
David Goodman 
Princeton 
David Goodman, Ph.D., is a team leader of the Central New Jersey Chapter of Represent.Us. He is also a think tank panelist on the Emmy-award winning public affairs show, “Fresh Outlook.”