We believe in the power of communities to build a world that is just, secure and abundant for all. We believe that within our communities we have the wisdom, tools and positive solutions that far outweigh the entrenched problems and negativity in our world. While it seems that much divides us these days, there is at least one issue which has overwhelming support from huge majorities of the American public of every political persuasion: the need to get big money and dark money out of politics so that our Maine voices can be heard.

We volunteer with the Stand With Maine initiative, a cross-partisan effort supporting a constitutional amendment to allow limits on big money in politics. When large institutions and people of significant wealth inject unlimited amounts of money into campaigns, they not only control the narrative but also distort our democracy and make real change challenging, if not impossible.

People from around Maine tell us that they have joined Stand With Maine because they care about a variety of issues ranging from our unsustainable national debt to climate change to all sides of the gun debate to affordable drug prices and many others. We can disagree on how to address these topics, but the common denominator is that big money in politics distorts the process of finding and adopting cross-partisan solutions for the issues we care deeply about. We agree that policy should not be influenced by the biggest donors but should represent the voices and wisdom of the people and places involved.

Whatever issues are most meaningful to individual Mainers and whatever candidates we each support in elections, we agree that the current rules of our political system allow people and entities with money, mostly from outside of Maine, to have an outsized influence on decision-making. This year is on track to be the most costly election in Maine’s history with sources from outside Maine outspending Mainers by a 12-to-1 margin. Our local voices and votes are overwhelmed by obscene amounts of money. Our airwaves are clogged with millions of dollars worth of ads that are polarizing and negative and drown out community input.

For specifics, take a look at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections’ recent report, “Corporate Money in Maine Political Campaigns,” which gives examples of campaign contributions from five major industries with an interest in bills before the Maine Legislature. Equally harmful to our democratic institutions are the contributions by large labor unions and wealthy individuals.

Wherever huge outside money comes from on the political spectrum, the impact is equally damaging. Let’s give our people a chance to be heard without the overriding wave of polarizing messages and see where we end up. Let’s get back to basics and let Mainers work together to decide what’s best for Maine.

A political system dominated by big money robs individuals and local communities – those with the most insight on appropriate solutions to Maine’s challenges – of their voices and their impact. As we contemplate Independence Day and the Maine Bicentennial, there are few things of which we are certain; one certainty for us is that big money in politics and the resulting distortion of political power undermine our communities’ ability to find the crucial cross-partisan solutions that affect our daily lives.

To learn more about the Stand With Maine initiative or to join our efforts, please reach out to us or find us online. Meanwhile, if you are ready to make a difference, then, along with American Promise Maine chapter members Kathy Biberstein, Dayle Fuller, David Gulick, Jonathan Hopps, Barbara Kaufman, Henry Laughlin, Christina Mitchell, Betsy and Erik Peters, Jennifer Pope, Cathy Regios, Hillary Shende, Deborah Smith and Lisa Wilson, we welcome you to stand with us and Stand With Maine by signing the Stand With Maine petition, saying that you support a constitutional amendment to allow reasonable limits on money in politics.

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