Represent.Us Members Pass Anti-Corruption Resolution in Luzerne County, PA

March 1, 2017

By: Tzipora Lederman, Communications Manager

On Tuesday, February 28th, the Luzerne County City Council passed an Anti-Corruption Resolution by a 10:1 vote, thanks to Represent NEPA, the Represent.Us chapter in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Represent NEPA is on a roll: they already passed their first Anti-Corruption Resolution in Wilkes-Barre, PA, in January and they're planning to pass a third this month in Pittston, PA.

Represent NEPA: Small, Ambitious, Effective

Peter Ouelette is the Represent NEPA Chapter Leader. The way Peter sees it, “big money in politics is really the central issue of our time, and we can't address any other issues without leveling the playing field first and fixing our corrupt political system.”

So he started a Represent.Us chapter in June 2016, and worked with other local Represent.Us members to pass resolutions.

Represent NEPA is the perfect example of how much a small group of people can get done. The chapter has five core members, who each bring unique skills to the group. The chapter includes former volunteers from Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and a General Motors veteran.

The work this chapter has done in just two months is a great reminder to us amidst national corruption scandals that people at the local level can take action right now to help fix our broken political system.

Why does PA need anti-corruption reform?

Is there actually a corruption problem in Pennsylvania? In a word, yes.

In a 2015 nonpartisan State Integrity Investigation, which evaluates and ranks states based on their corruption risk, Pennsylvania received an F grade, ranking 45th out of all 50 states.

This abysmal grade, coupled with the notorious “Kids for Cash” scandal and a statewide law enforcement communications project that has cost over $800 million and Peter called “legalized corruption,” has created an environment where local anti-corruption work is more important than ever.

Advice for passing your own resolution

We asked Peter for advice on how to pass an Anti-Corruption Resolution. His answer may surprise you, if you see politicians as adversaries:

"Work closely with the city council, be willing to collaborate with the legislators, get to know the media and above all, stick to the goal and don't get distracted."

Peter also said that putting aside political differences was a crucial element. It might feel hard to do, but corruption affects all of us, and according to Peter, we need to work together to “get legalized corruption out of the way.”