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After years of participating in a corrupt and broken system of campaign financing and wasting thousands of taxpayers' dollars on a Senate investigation to prove the obvious, our Washington legislators in the Senate have proven once again that they are incapable of doing the right thing.

They have refused to ban soft money, close the issue advocacy loopholes, strengthen the Federal Election Commission's ability to enforce the law and assert their authority to provide free TV time for candidates.

Despite the efforts of Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold and Representatives Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan, our legislators are sending a blatant message to their constituents that they prefer to ignore "the will of the people" and secure their incumbency by equating money with free speech.

Despite letters and phone calls to my own representative, Bill Paxon, I've yet to receive a written response from him regarding this issue.

Although The News has spoken out for reform and a few articles have appeared in Everybody's Column, I wonder if our area reflects the cynicism and alienation of citizens across the country?

Since the need for reform not only applies to Washington but also to Albany and local campaigns, a strong grass-roots movement is essential. Our democracy depends upon it.

RUTH L. SMILEY Williamsville

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