Money Trail: Rebellion participants hope to keep momentum going at home

Last modified: 7/14/2015 7:42:31 PM
As the N.H. Rebellion walkers on the Dixville Notch route make their way into Concord today, they’re already thinking about how they can keep up the momentum and bring back the will for change to their hometowns.

Maryl Nass, a physician from Ellsworth, Maine, said she’s planning to contact the state representatives she knows and look into the feasibility of passing a bill to have the state request an Article V constitutional convention about money in politics. A group pushing to have states call for such a convention, called Wolf PAC, joined the rebellion this weekend.

Nass said the proposal would “create a conversation and force the legislators at the state level to grapple with the issue” even though they often try to stay silent about it.

“That’s very valuable because you’ll start to see who your allies and enemies are,” she said.

Dave Brown, who flew to join the rebellion from San Jose, Calif., said he already volunteers for his local Wolf PAC and plans to continue doing so when he gets home.

“I think they’ve got a really good plan. They’re going to execute, and they’ve got a lot of people involved – there’s just more and more signing up every week. I see all the emails coming in,” he said.

Rick Hubbard of South Burlington, Vt., said he likes the idea of the New Hampshire-based Coalition for Open Democracy, a group dedicated to stopping the corruptive influence of money in politics. He said he would look to start a similar group in his state over the next year or two.

“I was inspired last year to see if in Vermont we couldn’t find a way to allow Vermonters to talk amongst each other if they’re passionate about this issue, much like the Open Democracy group does,” he said.

He said what’s most important is getting the issue of campaign finance reform into the national conversation and focusing people of different backgrounds and beliefs on the problems it creates.

“Basically, we have to figure out how to get traction on this issue,” he said.

Jacob Brennan of Providence, R.I., said he’s also thinking about founding a group dedicated to the issue in his home state. He wondered about whether it would be best to seek out something that already exists or whether he could use his connections that he has formed during the walk – including that with two-time N.H. Rebellion walkers from Rhode Island Jake and Mary Redway – to create an effective group of his own.

The rebellion isn’t just about meeting people in New Hampshire, he said, but rather the people in the rebellion meeting other rebels.

“This helps organizers learn who else feels strongly about this issue and what they’re doing and how we can be more effective,” he said. “It boosts people’s morale and lets them know this isn’t something they’re fighting alone.”

Brennan and fellow N.H. Rebellion walker Danny Miller also said they’re planning on attending the Hack4Congress event to be held at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government later this month. The event calls together innovators to “help fix Congress” in a multiday session that will allow the winning group to present their idea to “lawmakers and other high-level officials inside Congress,” according to Harvard’s website.

In a separate effort, Miller, who is the founder of the local chapter of Represent.Us, said he is helping to make a presentation to the Cambridge, Mass., city council promoting publicly funded city elections that has been in the works since May.

Katherine Thorndike of Sandwich has been talking to people all along the Dixville Notch route and said she hasn’t met an opposition yet in about 35 different conversations.

“They all seem to understand neither party will get anything done as long as businesses and money and corruption rule the decisions made by Congress,” she said.

The Dixville Notch route arrives in Concord a day ahead of the three other routes in the state from Portsmouth, Nashua and Keene. Tomorrow, the N.H. Rebellion marches on the State House at 1 p.m. and has programs scheduled for the rest of the day at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325 or or on Twitter @NickBReid.)

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