Campaign reform protesters march through county
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.
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.