Gray Davis on Government Reform

Former Democratic CA Governor

Campaign contributions let regular people run for office

Q: Name at least one positive and one negative influence you’ve found campaign contributions can have in California politics.

A: The positive influence is that contributions allow people of limited means-people who aren’t multi-millionaires or celebrities-to run for office. I am not independently wealthy, so I have to raise funds in order to get my message across. The money we raise does not finance my lifestyle. My opponent in this race [Bill Simon] has loaned himself nearly $11 million. When he pays himself back, that money will go straight into his pocket. That’s not to say that people who are wealthy shouldn’t run for office. But, I think the people benefit by having representatives from different walks of life and different socio- economic backgrounds. The negative influence is that fundraising creates perception problems. But, as long as you are open about the contributions you receive & put them out there for everyone to see, people will be able to make judgments for themselves.

Source: Eastern Groups Publications, CA Gov. Q&A, with Raul Vasquez , Nov 2, 2002

Your vote is your voice-legislate open process

Q: Political participation remains extremely low. How do you inspire the public to “get involved”?

A: I am a very strong believer in the tenet that your vote is your voice. I signed the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2002, which was approved by the voters, to upgrade voting systems. I also signed a bill that allows citizens to register to vote up to 15 days before an election, instead of 29 days. Another one I signed allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary process

Source: Eastern Groups Publications, CA Gov. Q&A, with Raul Vasquez , Nov 2, 2002

Reforms must respect state's rights to select electors.

Davis adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In the wake of the United States presidential election in Florida, the Congress and the administration has expressed interest in federal standards for elections. Recognizing that Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grants states, not Congress, the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and conducting elections generally, most legislative proposals do not mandate federal standards. Rather, current proposals direct federal agencies or commissions to study and make recommendations concerning the election system. Nonetheless, the possibility of legislation in the 107th Congress requiring states to implement federal election standards remains. If enacted without adequate funding by the federal government, such legislation could also result in an unfunded mandate to the states.

NGA’s Position

Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grant states the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and provide that states are responsible for establishing election procedures generally. However, in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the nation’s Governors recognize the need for election reform. NGA will continue to monitor federal legislation addressing this issue, but has not taken a position in support of or opposition to election reform efforts.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA11 on Aug 1, 2001

Other governors on Government Reform: Gray Davis on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Jerry Brown
CA Senatorial:
Barbara Boxer
Dianne Feinstein

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011