TRENTON, NEW JERSEY– Students who are organizing with Un-PAC, a nonpartisan organization of young people advocating for voting rights and campaign finance reform, met with the office of Senator Bob Menendez to discuss their common mission: to pass the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1).
The bill, which passed in the US House and is now in the Senate, has a scheduled “markup” on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 following the March 24th hearing in the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Senator Menendez has written legislative language contained in S.1., including the Shareholder Protection Act, which addresses campaign finance.
According to the Senator’s legislative correspondent, “[Senator Menendez] has been working within the Democratic caucus to build both internal and bipartisan support in the Senate.”
Poll after poll shows that many provisions and language of the For the People Act, that would crack down on political corruption in both parties and strengthen our democracy, is widely popular among the majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. However, so far no Senate Republicans have co-sponsored the legislation.
According to the organizers, the purpose of the meeting was to lobby Menendez to use his position of power to do more, namely pressure other Senators who have not signed on to the legislation yet, such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
New Jersey had the nation’s highest voter turnout of youth (18-29 year olds) at 67% in the 2020 election. Un-PAC has collected thousands of youth pledge signatures in support of this bill, including 100 from New Jersey students in the last month alone.
Ian Nielsen, an organizer with Un-PAC and student at Rowan University, concluded the meeting with a clear message: “Members of Congress cannot expect youth voter turnout to continue to increase without passage of S.1., and cannot expect to win future elections without the votes of young people. The support of our generation is contingent on the passing of the For the People Act.”
Un-PAC is a statewide organization activating students and young people to demand long overdue structural democracy reform so that we can actually solve urgent problems. Additional information can be found at www.un-pac.org, or on Twitter at @LetsUnPAC.