Maine's campaign finance law good for democracy

Kennebec Journal
Letters to the Editor
Sarah Walton

kennebec journal

Copyright © 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

Peter McFarland of Jefferson (letter, Feb. 2) makes an excellent point when he calls for public financing of federal elections.

Maine has had a long tradition of electing United States senators and representatives who have been willing to stand up on the floors of Congress and successfully advocate for good public policy. Margaret Chase Smith and George Mitchell are examples who come immediately to mind.

However, Congress as a whole often seems to follow the will of the large campaign contributors who fund the advertising campaigns that help to elect and re-elect members of Congress. Much of the legislation passed in Congress seems to be heavily influenced by individuals who represent not the will of the people but instead the will of "special interests" that fund the election campaigns of members of Congress throughout the country.

Maine voters passed the Clean Election Act in 1996. Although voluntary, 75 percent of candidates for the Maine Legislature use this public funding system. They don't have to worry about how their positions on certain issues will affect their ability to get large campaign contributions. Instead, they know that to get elected or re-elected, they need to answer only to the voters in their districts.

I hope at some point we have a similar system for congressional campaigns. In the meantime, we should continue to support Maine's Clean Election system by checking Clean Election box on our Maine income tax returns.

Sarah Walton