VIDEO: Activist speaks about why she bird-dogs
An acupuncturist and activist living in Manchester, New Hampshire, Elizabeth Ropp is one of more than a hundred citizens joining forces with AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence campaign to speak out against the domination of giant corporations over American government. People like her are changing the conversation of our political leaders to make peace, justice and democracy a priority.
[Watch an interview clip with Elizabeth below.]
Why did Elizabeth get involved? Like others, she recognizes the unique role that people in New Hampshire and Iowa have in electing our country’s president. According to Elizabeth, “New Hampshire is one of the last places on earth where presidential candidates come to talk to real Americans.”
Elizabeth has taken full advantage of the Granite State’s access to presidential candidates. On sixteen separate occasions she has spoken directly with candidates about the political influence of the military-industrial complex and the for-profit prison industry.
Elizabeth became active during the early stages of this campaign season, going back to the November 2014 midterm election, when presidential hopefuls began visiting New Hampshire to endorse the state’s candidates for US Congress. Bird-dog attempts under her belt include conversations with Chris Christie, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. Her persistent questions on governing under the influence have contributed to significant changes in candidate positions.
In response to Elizabeth’s questions, Christie said we have to shine a light on lobbying for political influence. Fiorina admitted to her that there is a lot of cronyism between the Pentagon and the corporations that contract for the Pentagon. When Elizabeth asked John Kasich about the political influence of the military-industrial complex, his reply suggested that lobbying and campaign cash should not determine the how the Pentagon buys weapons. And Bernie Sanders responded to Elizabeth’s question about the profit motive behind immigrant detention saying, “I do not believe corporations should be making money off of people who are in jail.”
Now there are only seven weeks left before the New Hampshire Primary, but it’s not too late to get involved. Join Elizabeth and AFSC to stand up and speak out against the powerful influence corporations wield in our government. We must not allow those who seek the presidency to visit our state without hearing our concerns. Help us change the conversation and bring focus to the issues that threaten peace, justice and democracy.