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Letter: Legislators must vow to seek ethics reform

Legislators must vow to seek ethics reform

Webster’s defines integrity as “uprightness of character” and conscience as “the ability to recognize right and wrong regarding one’s own behavior.” We all know there is a glaring need for comprehensive ethics reform in our State Legislature. The time for lip service is over!

Common Cause New York, Citizens Union and NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) have taken action by working together to create the “Clean Conscience Pledge.”

A letter has been sent to each state legislator calling for large-scale change, not incidental reform, and a request to sign the Clean Conscience Pledge. The ultimate goal is that this Legislature will work together, in a nonpartisan effort, to enact comprehensive ethics reform.

Our job as responsible citizens is to ensure that our legislators are “on board” with the long-overdue effort to overhaul the way business is conducted in Albany. It is time to put to rest the stigma that hangs over New York State politics – from the scandals of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed to former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

It is our duty as citizens and voters to expect a high degree of integrity from our legislators and to make sure that they work in the best interests of all citizens, not just the deep pockets of special interests.

You can see who signs the pledge at ethicspledgeNY.org. Accountability matters during the election season, and when our legislators fail to live up to our expectations, it is up to us to choose representatives who will honorably perform their duties.

Barbara A. Rogers

Common Cause New York

Hamburg