Common Cause Delaware Relaunches

    The Delaware branch of the lobbying group Common Cause is relaunching, two years after infighting and disagreements with the Common Cause national office led to the Delaware chapter to suspend operations.

    The Delaware branch of the lobbying group Common Cause is relaunching, two years after infighting and disagreements with Common Cause’s national office led the Delaware chapter to suspend operations in 2007.

    The group has reformed with completely new leadership.

    “I think there was sort of a decision to keep things as transparent and clean as possible so we could move forward with a clean slate,”  said Common Cause Delaware spokesperson Dee Durham.  “There’s no board members left over from the previous version, although some  people that had been involved before and supportive were part of the impetus for reforming.  I think they felt a real void in the state when the chapter folded a couple of years ago and really saw the need for Delaware to get its chapter back up and running.”

    The new board of directors is chaired by Jeffery Raffel, the University of Delaware’s Charles P. Messick Professor of Public Administration.

    Common Cause Delaware’s short term agenda focuses on election related issues, including greater transparency in campaign financing.

    “The database now for campaign contributions is difficult to search and takes a lot of hours to sift through who is giving what to who.  So, like many other states that have easier databases to search, we think Delaware should move in that direction,” Durham said.

    Durham adds that Common Cause Delaware will also seek redistricting reform before district lines are redrawn again in 2011 and advocate for some form of early voting in Delaware, along with no-excuse absentee ballots.

    Common Cause Delaware will celebrate its return, and the 40th anniversary of the founding of Common Cause, in February with an event honoring former Delaware governor Russ Peterson and former (Wilmington) News Journal editorial writer John Taylor for their efforts in seeking open government in Delaware.

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