PITTSTON — Election season is quickly approaching, but Peter Ouelette has other plans to change America that don’t involve voting in a new president.
The Pittston resident recently organized the NEPA chapter of Represent.Us, which, according to its website, is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign.
“Ultimately, the mission is to change laws at the federal level,” said Ouelette. “But, the strategy for getting there is to get enough support on the local level and then the state level to build a groundswell of support. Politicians will have to listen to us.”
Represent.Us brings conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and give voters a stronger voice.
Ouelette started the NEPA chapter earlier this year and held a meeting in the John P. Cosgrove Center at the Pittston Memorial Library on Tuesday.
Only six people were in attendance, but they came from areas in Luzerne County such as Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Avoca, Duryea and Hughestown.
Eric Bieski, Wilkes-Barre, said he attended the meeting because he wants to help bring change to the country.
“I was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania and I grew up hearing stories how this area was and how it’s never going to change, and I’ve heard almost the sadness and defeat in some of the older people’s voices,” he said. “They’ve lived through it, and corruption is a way of live and they don’t have a voice… and I feel this organization gives me hope and faith and we can take our communities back to rise above it.”
Ouelette said one of the primary missions of the organization is getting the word out about the organization itself and the corruption that goes on behind the closed doors f politicians.
Those in attendance took turns tossing around ideas such as getting involved on social media, going to local council meetings and putting ads in the local papers.
Although the crowd was small, their enthusiasm was large and it made Ouelette happy to see people want to be involved in the Represent.Us organization.
“That’s tremendous,” he said. “That’s where we’re going to get somewhere, by people putting their money where their mouth is.”
The NEPA chapter is the only one in Pennsylvania, Ouelette said, but there are over 41 other chapters across the country.
He mentioned how those chapters have seen success in getting state laws and resolutions in regards to the anti-corruption act.
Ouelette hopes to get the NEPA chapter to find similar success, but said the organization has to start locally before it can make a national impact.
“We’re starting from the bottom up,” he said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher.