Mission, Values & Aims




Citizens Union is a nonpartisan good government group dedicated to making democracy work for all New Yorkers. Citizens Union serves as a civic watchdog, combating corruption and fighting for political reform.  


We work to ensure fair and open elections, honest and efficient government, and a civically‐engaged public.


We are New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds and political beliefs, connected to our communities and united in our commitment to put the city’s long‐term interest ahead of all special interests.


Principled and pragmatic, Citizens Union is an independent force for constructive reform, driving policy and educating the public to achieve accountable government in the City and State of New York.


We accomplish our mission through three entities:

  • Citizens Union of the City of New York is a 501c4 organization that advances legislation to improve our government and political system, and conducts evaluations of candidates for city and state offices.  

  • Citizens Union Foundation is a 501c3 organization that conducts in-depth research on public policy, provides information to the public, and promotes public policy solutions.  
  • Gotham Gazette, a New York City-based independent online watchdog publication that covers city and state government, elections, environment, education, public safety, health, transportation and housing. Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation.



Citizens Union is also guided by a set of overarching organizational values that define our union of New Yorkers and the way we work:

  • Independent of Any Political Party
  • Principled, Pragmatic and Problem‐Solving
  • Rooted in New York City
  • Representing Diversity in Political Beliefs, Community, and Backgrounds
  • Mutual Respect and Civil Dialogue
  • Honoring our Tradition of Standing up to Tammany Hall
  • Striving for the “Highest Common Ground” Policy Solutions
  • Collaborative with Strategic Partners



The term “good government” means different things to different people and too little to too many.  For Citizens Union good government in the City and State of New York is expressed through these values, qualities, and actions:

  • Open Elections and Transparent Government
  • Accountability for Public Officials
  • Fair Process in Decision‐making
  • Efficient and Effective Administration of Government
  • Public Knowledge of Candidates, Public Officials and Policy
  • Reduced Influence of Money and Special Interests in Politics
  • Public Participation in New York’s Civic Life

Citizens Union finds common ground and uses the tools of public policy, public education and public engagement to:

  • Reduce the influence of money and special interest power in politics and policy making;
  • Improve voter access to, and participation in, the selection of candidates and elections;
  • Foster accountability and openness in government to increase public trust;
  • Make more information available, increasing access to public records and expanding public knowledge of government actions; and
  • Provide leadership in finding the highest common ground needed to achieve effective solutions to issues of city and statewide importance.