Testimony of Alexa Hanna, designer and CCAD graduate

Dec. 4, 2018

Council President Hardin, and Council members Brown, Page, Stinziano, Tyson, Remy and Brown —

Good evening! My name is Alexa Hanna and I am a proud Columbus resident and community member. Council member Brown, we’re actually neighbors! I live right across the street from you. Nice to see you again!

I am here tonight, as many of us are, to ask you not to pass this proposal.

As a young professional living and working in Columbus, I love our city for many reasons. One of those reasons is how diverse our city is. I absolutely love that we have so many different communities that make up the greater whole. The diversity in Columbus is one of the reasons that I continue to live and work here. And I know many other young professionals feel similarly.

I also love that when it comes time to vote, everyone is given an equal voice no matter who you are. What I don’t love, as I believe it has been well established, is that Columbus currently lacks campaign finance limits. And while I’m pleased that Mayor Ginther has decided to address this issue, I do not believe for a second that a campaign contribution limit as ridiculously high as 12,707 dollars and 79 CENTS will allow residents to have an equal voice in Columbus elections.

I believe it is absolutely essential to local democracy that everyone’s voice is heard equally. Professionally, I work as a qualitative researcher, and ensuring no one person’s opinion is given more priority than another is a driving value in my work. Council members, I would urge you to make it one of yours as well.

I have some examples in case anyone is confused about why this limit about why this proposed limit wouldn’t allow anyone’s voice to be heard equally:

For an OSU student living in Ohio, $12,707.79 is 1.25 years of tuition.

For a minimum-wage Ohio worker, $12.707.79 is over 1 year of takehome pay.

For an average Ohio household, $12,707.79 is 10 years of electricity.

In 33 Columbus neighborhoods, $12,707.79 is 18 months rent.

Regular people simply can’t afford to be as influential as someone who could afford to donate the full amount. To me, that is not what having an equal voice looks like.

As a young professional who cares deeply about democracy, that is not the type of city I want to live in. That is why I am here speaking tonight.

I believe enacting true campaign finance reform would be a winwin-lose in the best way possible. It would be a WIN for us, the residents, the community members who want their leaders to represent them and their best interests. It would be a WIN for
politicians seeking to represent their constituents rather than be beholden to wealthy donors.

The lose in the win-win-lose equation would be for anyone who doesn’t have the best interest of the Columbus community as whole as their focus. And to me, that lose is a win.

Thank you.