Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) hosted a town hall Saturday in Minnesota where he joked about giving a guest a piece of “chocolate cake” in the “spirit of celebrating diversity.”
The town hall was called to discuss HR 1, or the For the People Act, a radical election-reform package introduced by House Democrats and a key piece of legislation to Phillips’ campaign success. Phillips made campaign-finance reform the cornerstone of his 2018 campaign and relentlessly clamored against the influence of money in politics.
One of his guests for his Saturday town hall was Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United, who was celebrating her birthday.
“In the spirit of celebrating diversity, there’s a piece of chocolate cake,” Phillips said before orchestrating a rendition of the happy-birthday song.
The For the People Act passed the U.S. House Friday in a 234-193 vote. The bill, among other things, declares Election Day a federal holiday, mandates automatic voter registration, restores the right to vote for convicted felons, and requires nonprofit organizations to disclose donor names if they contribute $10,000 or more.
“It’s a statement of principles. It’s a statement of values. In my estimation, it’s foundational,” Phillips said Saturday, saying the American people are “dismayed and disgusted by the integrity of our political system.” Phillips was joined by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who has pioneered the push to restore voting rights to felons in Minnesota.
“It’s going to take a lot of work to get this bill to the president’s desk at some point and get it signed, but we are going to be relentless. This is a beginning and not an end,” Phillips continued.
He began the town hall by delivering a PowerPoint presentation, which explained the four core issues of the legislation: a talent gap in Congress, money in politics, voter disenfranchisement, and rigged electoral systems.
“Money in politics. I don’t think I have to say much about it. It’s destructive. There are quid pro quos attached to money in politics. In my estimation, it is at the root of a lot of the discord and division in this country,” Phillips said.
The full town hall can be watched below:
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) March 9, 2019
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