Cam­paign re­form pro­test­ers march through county

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - bshea@ce­cil­whig.com By BRI­ANNA SHEA

ELK­TON — Pro­test­ers hail­ing from as far away as Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­tana and Texas marched through town Tues­day as part of a 10-day protest against per­ceived federal cam­paign fi­nance abuses.

Kai Newkirk, who helped to or­ga­nize the march, is co-founder of 99Rise, a group of ac­tivists and or­ga­niz­ers who want to “re­claim our democ­racy from the dom­i­na­tion of big money,” ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Is­sues such as “big money” in politics and re­stric­tive vot­ing laws are some of the group’s key is­sues, Newkirk said. Newkirk said there are around 120 peo­ple walk­ing the en­tire march.

He said the gov­ern­ment should rep­re­sent all cit­i­zens, not just the wealth­i­est 1 per­cent who are able to con­trib­ute im­mensely to po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. Those who joined Newkirk shared this phi­los­o­phy.

“We want free and fair elec­tions,” said Dy­lan Fisher, a res­i­dent from New York.

Fisher said the group is march­ing to raise aware­ness of the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens United v. FEC de­ci­sion, which opened the flood­gates to Su­per PACs to in­flu­ence po­lit­i­cal races with­out di­rectly con­tribut­ing to can­di­dates, and hope­fully build sup­port of ef­forts to rein in spend­ing.

Mickey San Miguel, who came from Colorado to par­tic­i­pate, said he would like the march to raise aware­ness about these is­sues.

“As a coun­try, we’ve le­gal­ized bribery,” San Miguel said.

Newkirk said if Congress does not at least con­sider one of the group’s pro­posed re­form bills, the marchers will stage a non-vio- lent, sit-down protest on the vis­i­tor’s side of the Capi­tol Build­ing. He said that at least 1,000 have been con­firmed to agree to be a part of the sit-in.

“But if they refuse to do any­thing, we will have no choice but to re­claim the Peo­ple’s House in mass, dig­ni­fied but de­ter­mined, non­vi­o­lent sit-ins to force their hand,” the Democ­racy Spring web­site reads.

The march be­gan at the Lib­erty Bell in Philadel­phia on April 2 and is ex­pected to end at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., be­tween April 11 and 18 de­pend­ing on the jour­ney. Tues­day’s seg­ment be­gan in Ne­wark, Del., and was ex­pected to end in Per­ryville.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Sev­eral dozen pro­tes­tors who are a part of the Democ­racy Spring move­ment marched down Route 40 on Tues­day af­ter­noon in their jour­ney to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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