Local group looking to change politics

Local group looking to change politics »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A coalition of grassroots organizations have successfully come together to create an initiative approved by the state. With enough signatures, they hope to see the initiative on the fall ballot in Washington state. KEPR met with the local Move to Amend team leader to learn what the group is doing to make changes to politics in our state.

Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United. Corporations are now represented in a similar way as people under the Constitution. Since then, a nationwide movement to overturn the ruling has been in effect. It's called Move to Amend. Washington state is one of 16 states calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"The different organizations within the state of Washington started talking to each other and getting together and saying, 'You know, we need to do something on a state level,'" said the local Move to Amend leader, Karen Ramage.

WAMEND Coalition started almost 2-years ago. The local leader of Move to Amend Tri-Cities says the organizations throughout the state worked together to come up with the initiative.

"This petition is asking to reverse Citizens United, but it goes beyond that," Ramage said.

She says they want to make it known corporations are not people, and they want to get money out of politics. After the state approved the initiative, they gave it a number: I-1329. Petitioners have been gathering signatures for just two weeks now. In order to see the measure on the fall ballot, the state needs 250,000 valid signatures.

Karen says WAMEND does not agree with the way big corporations spend money during campaign season.

"That money that was being spent by those people could have gone towards scholarships for kids to go to college or grants for kids to go to college. It could have gone to money for food banks to help people who are hungry," said Ramage.

But Citizens United would disagree. They describe their mission as being dedicated to restoring our government to citizens' control.

The Tri-Cities leader of WAMEND is holding three more petitioner training sessions.

1. Wednesday 2/26 at the Sharehouse on Keene Road
2. Sunday 3/2 at the Kennewick Library
3. Monday 3/3 at the Richland Library