Citizen Leader Spotlight: George Penn
Read how American Promise member George Penn, a citizen leader with Wisconsin United to Amend, grows support for the 28th Amendment in his home state and across the nation.
Big money in politics affects every major political issue in the United States. After the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, George Penn realized the system is rigged against everyday Americans.
“I believe every issue ‘We the People’ care about is undermined by the corrupt, big-money political system we now have,” George says.
He decided to take action.
Working to Make a Difference
In 2012, George became a member of Wisconsin United to Amend, a partner organization of American Promise, working toward ratification of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution to get big money out of politics and ensure an equal voice for every citizen, regardless of wealth. George has become one of the organization’s most impactful citizen leaders, helping successfully grow the movement in his home state and beyond.
With Wisconsin United to Amend, George has helped pass dozens of local resolutions throughout Wisconsin calling on Congress to send the 28th Amendment to the states for ratification. Local resolutions help advance the amendment by showing ongoing and growing grassroots support for the campaign, educating people about the problem and that they can get involved in the solution, and proving to elected officials that it’s an issue their constituents want them to take action on.
“We have passed 132 resolutions for the call, with nine more on the ballot in November,” George says. “We target at least 10 referendums on each future ballot.”
George has also helped build an expansive network of Wisconsinites who support the cause, connecting a wide range of organizations including faith-based groups, business leaders and local activist groups.
“Our primary strategy to educate citizens and build power has been passing local resolutions calling for the amendment,” George says. “We have also started bringing into the movement the faith communities by having congregations passing resolutions calling for the amendment. We are approaching businesses to write letters of support for the amendment. While doing all this work we continue to build relations and coalitions with other activist groups throughout Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin and Beyond
Based on his success in Wisconsin, George has also helped further the national movement for the 28th Amendment. American Promise has invited George to speak with new American Promise Associations across the nation to instruct members on effective ways to advance and grow support for the 28th Amendment.
With the help of American Promise, George has been able to pass on successful strategies that he has learned as a member of Wisconsin United to Amend to organizations in other states. George knows passing the 28th Amendment requires grassroots action across the country.
“American Promise has opened up the necessary conversation between the states and provides me with opportunities to help other states get started building the movement,” George says. “This is not just a Wisconsin movement. It is a national movement, or it is nothing.”