Celebrities Push for Fair Elections in New Videos

Actors Make Videos in Push for Campaign Finance Reform

The New York Times

Jesse Mckinley

June 12, 2013

ALBANY — It may not have the political sex appeal of fighting climate change, ending the war on drugs or thwarting hydrofracking, but the issue of campaign finance reform is getting a little celebrity spin this week, compliments of a series of Web videos being released on Wednesday.

“I’m Alec Baldwin with a message for politicians in New York,” says the actor (and rumored New York City mayoral aspirant) in his video. “It’s time to stop talking about cleaning up Albany, and start doing it.”

Mr. Baldwin’s video is one of four that have been recorded in recent days by actors with ties to the city, including Jason Alexander (of “Seinfeld” fame); Kathleen Turner (an experienced Broadway actress); and Kathryn Erbe, who was a regular on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

The release of the videos comes a day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a bill that would introduce a public financing system for state elections that would be similar to the one in place in New York City. That legislation — part of a broader plan from the governor to reform elections — will have a hard time passing in the State Senate, which is controlled, in part, by Republicans opposed to public money being used for elections.

Hence, it seems, the celebrity charm offensive.

“I remember that old ad campaign, ‘I Love NY,’” Mr. Alexander says in his video. “Well I did, and I do. And that’s why I’m hoping Albany will get its act together and pass comprehensive campaign finance reform.” He adds that the state could “set the trend for the whole country, which is exactly what New York should be doing.”

The videos are the first in what will most likely be a series of personality-driven pitches, with other stars recording ads in the near future, according to Fair Elections for New York, a coalition that is coordinating the campaign. Each ad has a different script, but a similar, stern tagline — “Don’t come home without it” — something that sounds particularly serious when it’s coming from a gravelly grande dame like Ms Turner.

“It’s time Albany got cleaned up,” she says. “Pass Fair Elections for New York. And don’t come home without it.”

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