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What activists say about Public Citizen

Activists holding signs that say "Corporations are not people."I’m a little overwhelmed.

More than 10,000 Public Citizen supporters responded to the survey we sent around a few weeks ago.

Among the survey responses is a wealth of stories, ideas, thoughts, suggestions and praise.

The wide range of individuals who responded is inspiring. We heard from lifelong public interest advocates who fondly remember Public Citizen’s founding in 1971 by a lawyer, then in his 30’s, named Ralph Nader, and we heard from college students just starting to learn about the urgency of fighting for our democracy.

We also heard from self-described “political junkies” who are endlessly fascinated by the inner-workings (and dysfunctions) of Washington, as well as those who would prefer not to think at all about politics – but who have suffered painful, personal wrongs that motivate them to fight for justice.

Below are some of my favorite snippets from what people who responded to the survey had to say about Public Citizen.

David from Fremont, Ohio:

Public Citizen motivated me to draw up a resolution to overturn “Citizens United.” I submitted it to my City Council, here in Fremont, OH. They passed it, and it is on the way to the Governor, and Ohio State Legislature. A single citizen can still make things happen in America. The Supreme Court was WRONG, now its up to the people to change things.  I am 84, and not physically able to knock on doors, and that sort of thing, but I have a computer that enables me to do a lot of other things. My legislators get a lot of e-mails and phone calls from me. You’re never too old to be involved. I have been involved in politics for many years.

Mary from Long Branch, Oregon:

I first became aware of your great work when I was in grad school. My internship was with Change to Win organizing truck drivers at the port of Newark, NJ, and I researched the global supply chain that branched off into trade agreements and the Story of Stuff and corporate personhood. Public Citizen was a great source of information and also organizing around these important issues. Thank you.

Dorothy from Claremont, California:

Public Citizen presents a rational critique of the corporatocracy that has destroyed our public life.  Public Citizen focuses on solutions and concrete situations.

Pauline from Waltham, Massachusetts:

Often the public is not informed about bills in Congress, issues that are of concern to everyday citizens. I just discovered Public Citizen last year and I am happy at the discovery.  It’s a good thing to know that others really care about what goes on. When the public knows what is going on, there can be an attempt at solving the problem. Too often we are ignorant of facts. We certainly cannot take the word of highly paid lobbyists!

Joseph from Smethport, Pennsylvania:

I recommend Public Citizen to all I know who want to things to work for the common good. Also, that the leadership and department heads of Public Citizen speak truth to power.

Sheila from Olympia, Washington:

I used to be a conservative who firmly believed that we needed less regulations from the government and that the traditional values of the U.S. were threatened by liberals. Then the 2008 financial crisis came and I began reading books and watching documentaries to find out how this happened and realized that less regulation allowed greed and self-interest to dominate. I discovered that the greedy and selfish use their wealth to make sure laws and regulations benefit them and protects them from being held accountable. I realized that outsourcing was a plan that allows U.S. companies to bypass workers’ rights and safety, keep wages obscenely low, and allow pollution. That the environment and living wages, and civil rights, and common sense were all to be sacrificed to enrich a small percentage of people. It’s all interlinked and unless “we the people” educate each other and band together to protect our laws and rights we will be thrown back into history as another group that works for the nobility as slaves, serfs and peasants. Public Citizen speaks to all these concerns.

Richard from Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Public Citizen is only group I know of that understands the hazards of outsourcing jobs, manufacturing and the lack of a U.S. industrial and jobs policy.

Claire from Portland, Orgeon:

In the many years that I have been a member, I have observed that Public Citizen has focused on issues basic to our nation’s democratic process. They seem to have an insider’s grasp of those issues that help to inform me and spur me to take action. To be an informed citizen, so basic to a functioning democracy, is difficult in this age of information explosion. I look to Public Citizen to create a focal point.

Henrietta from Olivebridge, New York:

I’m 75 and a grandmother. I need for my little granddaughter to mature in a sane, caring political world and a safe, non-polluted environment drinking pure, untreated water eating healthy food and trusting that she has little chance being harmed by the world she lives in. I remember Nader’s Raiders, first hearing of them through the campaign to make cars safer (“Unsafe at Any Speed”). I’ve always admired Ralph Nader and the work he began and I trust Public Citizen because I think they follow in that vein putting people’s safety and the safety of our country before anything else. Any group of intelligent people gathered together with a passion for doing good for the world and being savvy enough to keep going—proving they are effective—like Public Citizen—well, they’re the ones I want to listen to and support.

Share your stories, ideas, thoughts, suggestions and praise by completing Public Citizen’s survey.

Rick Claypool is Online Director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. Follow him on Twitter at @RickClaypool.

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