On Feb. 6, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a public hearing on the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of politics. Advocates for the amendment, including American Promise State Manager Azor Cole and various citizen leaders, provided written testimony to the Subcommittee. Below is testimony from Devin Hiett of San Antonio, Texas.
Written Testimony of Devin Hiett
Texas Native, University of Oklahoma Graduate, Washington D.C. Resident
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
Hearing on Citizens United at 10: The Consequences for Democracy & Potential Responses By Congress February 6, 2020
I’m Devin Hiett, a 2019 graduate from the University of Oklahoma with degrees in international studies and journalism. I am a volunteer with American Promise and attended 2019 Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., to talk with my elected officials about the 28th Amendment on behalf of myself and my fellow students. I am involved in this organization because I believe we are at a critical time in American history that requires us to take swift, substantive action on the myriad issues plaguing our democracy. My voting generation realizes this, and we realize how important our participation in the political system is. Yet, in the 2016 presidential race, people between 18 and 29 made up just 13 percent of the electorate. This isn’t because young voters are apathetic or ignorant about the issues. In fact, recent polling of younger voters from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics found that when young people don’t vote, it’s largely because they believe their vote doesn’t have the power to bring about meaningful change―and they’re right. A study from Princeton University found that public opinion has a “near-zero” impact on public policy.
I know passing a Constitutional amendment is a significant undertaking. But I believe if young voters like myself want to see substantive action on the issues we care about most— fighting climate change, reducing student loan debt, controlling the spread of guns, and reforming immigration policy—we must radically decrease the influence of big money in our political system. Young Americans are passionate and want to work together for systemic change, and if we want our generation to become engaged voters, we have to make their votes count by tackling legalized corruption. A 28th Amendment is our best hope of accomplishing this and restoring our democracy, our environment, and our futures. On behalf of myself and others of my generation, I thank you for moving this amendment forward and encourage Congress to work together to pass the amendment and return it to the states for ratification.