We talk a lot about equality, both here in Maine and across the country. Marriage equality, racial equality and gender equality have been the focus of recent debates and discussions.

But more and more, it’s the lack of political equality that is of concern to me. As more special interest money pours into our elections, diluting the democratic process, our system looks less like an institution of, by and for the people and more like a system designed to serve those with the deepest pockets.

That’s why I want to thank Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud for being original co-sponsors of legislation that seeks to diminish the role of big money in congressional races.

H.R. 20, “The Government By the People Act,” was introduced last month and already has more than 130 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

The bill is significant in that it would allow candidates to run for federal office without relying on large donations, in the same way that the Maine Clean Election Act takes high-dollar campaign contributions out of state legislative races.

The bill sets up a system where candidates for Congress can run competitive campaigns for office by relying on small donations from people back home, making elected officials more accountable to their constituents instead of big-money donors.

Our elected officials work for us, but with all the big money flowing through our elections, it often doesn’t feel that way. This legislation won’t bring total political equality to federal elections or eradicate all special interest money from our system, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Jill Ward

South Portland