Tuesdays with Tom 10-03-2017
WASHINGTON — Today, on a conference call with New Mexico reporters, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, discussed major legislation he introduced to radically overhaul our out-of-control campaign finance system and his efforts to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In addition, Udall offered his condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the horrific attack in Las Vegas, who include Lisa Romero-Muniz, a secretary at Hiroshi Miyamura High School in Gallup.
Udall last week reintroduced his landmark We the People Democracy for All Act to fix our broken campaign finance system, restore accountability to our elections, and empower voters. "I believe our democracy has reached a crisis point,”Udall said. “The American people are losing faith in the electoral process and in our institutions…. It’s long past time that we took action to restore confidence and accountability in our democracy. The We the People Act will put our democracy back in the hands of all Americans instead of the powerful few."
The new bill includes proposals to comprehensively reform campaign finance laws, increase transparency and accountability in the political system, end extreme partisan gerrymandering, increase voter participation, and strengthen lobbying and revolving door laws. A summary of its provisions is available here.
Udall also discussed the importance of protecting DACA — which has enabled 6,800 young New Mexicans to get legal status, obtain work permits, fulfill their dreams of going to college, and plan for their futures. Udall said, "These ‘Dreamers’ represent the best of our country. They are talented, patriotic young adults. The United States is their home. They know no other country."
Udall highlighted the story of Roxana, a Dreamer who has lived in Santa Fe since she was 1 year old. Roxana works at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe and had planned to go to nursing school. But President Trump's announcement has put her plans on hold. "The president’s decision is already causing chaos for immigrant families. And it will hurt our economy,” Udall said. “Republicans in Congress need to join with Democrats to pass the DREAM Act immediately, to protect the future of these young people."
Click here to download the audio.
Below are Udall's remarks:
0:04 — I’ll begin by saying a few words about the horrific attack in Las Vegas. Jill and I join the entire nation in mourning the victims of this senseless act and we grieve with their families and loved ones.
0:18 — At least one of the victims was a secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup. Her name was Lisa Romero. I have reached out to express my condolences to her family.
0:30 — The stories are pouring in of heroism and incredible bravery in the face of this evil. We are all so grateful to the first responders, law enforcement, and every day citizens who put their lives on the line to save others.
0:45 — We need to channel our pain into action. Congress has the power to do something about this epidemic and it’s long past time we did.
0:55 — Now, I’d like to turn to what I’m working on here in Washington. Recently, I introduced the We The People, democracy reform act in the Senate. This landmark bill will fix our broken campaign finance system, restore accountability to our elections, and empower voters.
1:14 — I believe our democracy has reached a crisis point. The American people are losing faith in the electoral process and in our institutions.
1:25 — People are seeing too much evidence that our government no longer answers to ordinary citizens. Disastrous Supreme Court decisions are allowing big, secret money to flood our elections. Foreign adversaries are interfering in our electoral process. Voting rights are under attack across the country. And big money donors are being rewarded with cabinet posts and special access.
1:52 — It’s long past time that we took action to restore confidence and accountability in our democracy.
2:00 — My bill makes some key reforms. For instance:
It reforms the way our campaigns are financed to boost the influence of small donors.
It strengthens our enforcement of campaign finance laws.
It toughens lobbying and revolving door laws.
It requires the publishing of White House visitor logs, and visitor logs at other locations where the president does business.
It ends extreme partisan gerrymandering;
And it establishes automatic voter registration and allows for same day voter registration.
2:39 — The We the People Act will put our democracy back in the hands of all Americans instead of the powerful few.
2:46 — I’d also like to take a moment to speak out against President Trump’s heartless decision to end the DACA program. DACA has allowed 800,000 young people and almost 8,000 New Mexicans to work and go to school.
3:03 — These ‘Dreamers’ represent the best of our country. They are talented, patriotic young adults. The United States is their home, they know no other country.
3:14 — Take Roxana. Roxana came to Santa Fe when she was one year old. She’s now 22. Roxana registered with DACA as soon as she could. She now works as a medical assistant with La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe. Roxana planned to go to nursing school. But the president’s action put her plans on hold.
3:39 — The president’s decision is already causing chaos for immigrant families. And it will hurt our economy.
3:45 — Republicans in Congress need to join with Democrats to pass the DREAM Act immediately, to protect the future of these young people.
4:00 — Udall answers questions on congressional action to prevent gun violence, campaign finance, DACA, and protecting our national monuments.