BATH

Jerry Provencher is far from alone in decrying money’s influence on politics.


More than 350 cities and towns across the country have passed resolutions supporting an amendment to the Constitution, and would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision that in effect grants corporations the same rights as people. The decision in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case, activists say, equates money with free speech.


Provencher, Dan Veale and Bruce Gagnon of Bath are among the Mainers who will attend a rally on the Citizens United outside the State Capitol, on Jan. 22. Following the 10:30 a.m. rally between the State House and the Cross Building, protesters will head into the State House, to lobby with legislators.


“I hope that we get impact, or at least connect with various legislators,” said Provencher, who has organized a public meeting for Feb. 21 at City Hall. “This is hugely important. Money in politics isn’t just about elections. This impacts everything all the way down to the local level. It impacts climate change, energy policies, wars and joblessness.”


Provencher acknowledged that the effort, as with most grassroots movements, is taking time. Now, he’s seeing progress.


“It’s finally coalescing in the past couple of months,” he said. “We’re looking to have a dialogue with the citizens of the state. Hopefully, the Legislature is going to take action on it.”


Organizers are hoping for a good crowd in Augusta. Residents of Mount Desert Island have chartered a bus to take people to the event.


Provencher also aspires for a good turnout on Feb. 21 in Bath. He and others connected to the movement will distribute fliers and posters. They hope to have a guest speaker, and a short film. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.


He addressed the issue to the City Council last month.


“I come here tonight representing a group of concerned citizens here in the city,” he told the council. “We are joining citizens around the State and the Country in working to meet our duty, as citizens, to defend our democracy against attack. The attack that I speak of is the influence of money in our political process.


“We all know that money means influence in politics. The average citizen can arrange a fifteen or twenty minute meeting with a Senator or Representative, but that is not the same as having a casual chat over dinner and drinks at a $5,000 fundraiser. Members of Congress readily admit that they spend 30 to 50 percent of their time raising money for the next election and for their quota to a national party. Given the number and magnitude of the issues facing our state and country, we can no longer tolerate such abuse of our trust.”



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