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Karen Scharff
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Karen Scharff is the Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, a statewide grassroots organization that empowers New Yorkers to fight for social, economic and racial justice, with a focus on policy change at the state level.

Citizen Action of New York, the New York affiliate of USAction, has seven regional chapters and affiliates across the state and mobilizes its 20,000 members on local, state and national issues and elections. Citizen Action has played a leading role in successful campaigns to expand health coverage in New York State, pass the Affordable Care Act nationally, increase state education funding, end prison-based gerrymandering, enact fairer taxes on the wealthy, protect Social Security and numerous other campaigns for justice.

Citizen Action’s most recent campaign is Fair Elections for NY -– a campaign to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform with public funding of elections at its core. Citizen Action has also played an active role in electing progressive candidates to local, state and national office, and was a founding member of the Working Families Party.

Karen serves as a co-chair of the Working Families Party. Ms. Scharff received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and then worked as a community organizer in South Carolina and Connecticut prior to joining the staff of Citizen Action of New York in 1983. She has been Co-Director and then Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York since 1984.

Entries by Karen Scharff

A Important Day in Social Movement History

(35) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 4:45 PM

July 22, 2015. Remember this date. It marks a huge shift in mainstream thinking about the economy. It proves that people aren't buying Wall Street CEOs' trickle-down lie any more. It proves that people really understand that workers are the engines of the economy and that paying fair wages to...

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Spending $60 Million to Save $1 Billion

(6) Comments | Posted December 1, 2013 | 10:03 AM

"The savings ultimately would be astronomical."

That's what William Fitzpatrick said a couple weeks ago about creating a publicly financed elections system, after his Commission had spent months investigating corruption, bribery, and Albany's pay-to-play system.

He's right. New York State's outrageous, broken campaign finance system results in our...

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How to Make the Impossible Possible with, Yes, a Government Commission

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 6:11 PM

Want to avoid having to do anything? Create a government commission! Except right now there's a commission in New York that, despite some questions about its start, could do the improbable, if not the impossible--get elected officials to pass effective campaign finance reform, including public funding of elections.

When the...

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New York's Long Road to Fair Elections

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 10:14 AM

The fight for serious campaign finance reform in New York State is nearing its peak with the conclusion of Albany's 2013 legislative session in late June, and we're closer than ever to winning true reform that will not only curb the influence of big money in campaigns, but change the...

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