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REP. MONDAIRE JONES LEADS NEW YORK DELEGATION COLLEAGUES IN SUPPORTING SCHUMER’S COMMITMENT TO THE FOR THE PEOPLE ACT

June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) led 16 members of the New York Congressional delegation in backing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) effort to bring S.1, also known as the For the People Act, to the Senate floor in its entirety for a vote. In March, Jones was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the House. 

“We write to support you in your commitment to using every power at your disposal to hold a vote on the For the People Act (S.1) in the United States Senate in June and to pass the bill before August recess,” write the lawmakers. “As you eloquently expressed at the opening of the Senate’s markup of the bill, the onslaught of anti-democratic and racist attacks on democratic participation across this nation necessitates the broad and comprehensive set of solutions found in the For the People Act. We share your steadfast opposition to any effort to eliminate core components of this critical package of reforms, like public financing and independent redistricting commissions. Together, these pillars of S.1 will strengthen and protect our democracy.”

In their letter, the lawmakers point out that New York State has already adopted several of the key reforms in the For the People Act

  • In 2019, the state enacted early voting and advanced no-excuse mail voting and same-day voter registration, both of which require state constitutional amendments. 
  • Last year, New York became the first state since Citizens United to enact a statewide small-donor public financing program and joined the ranks of 18 other states and Washington D.C. by passing automatic voter registration. 
  • Recently, the State Senate approved a rights restoration bill that would automatically restore voting rights to New Yorkers upon release from prison. 

In addition to Rep. Jones, the letter is signed by Reps. Thomas Suozzi (NY-03), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Joe Morelle (NY-25), and Brian Higgins (NY-26).

The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.

Dear Senate Majority Leader Schumer:

We write to support you in your commitment to using every power at your disposal to hold a vote on the For the People Act (S.1) in the United States Senate in June and to pass the bill before August recess. As you eloquently expressed at the opening of the Senate’s markup of the bill, the onslaught of anti-democratic and racist attacks on democratic participation across this nation necessitates the broad and comprehensive set of solutions found in the For the People Act. We share your steadfast opposition to any effort to eliminate core components of this critical package of reforms, like public financing and independent redistricting commissions. Together, these pillars of S.1 will strengthen and protect our democracy.

In March, we in the House of Representatives passed the For the People Act (H.R.1). It is now time for the Senate to act on this critical civil rights legislation. We cannot miss this opportunity to protect and enhance voting rights, reduce the undue influence of Big Money in our politics and on our policies, take partisanship out of drawing district lines, and strengthen and restore the ethical rules and norms so badly damaged over the past five years.

New York State has already led the way on some of the key reforms in the For the People Act. In 2019, the state enacted early voting and advanced no-excuse mail voting and same-day voter registration, both of which require state constitutional amendments. Last year, New York became the first state since Citizens United to enact a statewide small-donor public financing program (based on New York City’s proven matching model) and joined the ranks of 18 other states and Washington D.C. by passing automatic voter registration. Recently, the State Senate approved a rights restoration bill that would automatically restore voting rights to New Yorkers upon release from prison. Over the last two years, New York has shown it is possible to restore and expand our democracy in the face of a concerted effort to weaken it.

We now have the opportunity, and obligation, to advance these same reforms nationwide, and then the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and statehood for Washington, D.C. As we tackle the challenges facing this country – including the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises it has exacerbated in employment, housing, health care, education, and more – we must ensure that America’s diverse voices will be heard in the decisions that directly impact their lives.

This will be a defining moment for Democratic leadership: in your words, “a legacy-defining choice.” We appreciate what you’ve already stated about this legislation: failure is not an option. We must now show how strongly we value a democracy that will work for all Americans by demonstrating the will to overcome any barriers standing in the way. We can still have a multiracial democracy in America, but only if we fight for it. We look forward to working with you to pass the For the People Act – with all of its core components, including small-donor public financing and independent redistricting – in the U.S. Senate by August recess. As you fulfill this historic responsibility to protect our democracy, we will have your back every step of the way.

About Mondaire: Mondaire Jones is the 34-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland and resides in Westchester.

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