King, Mitchell urge ‘Yes’ vote on Question 1

King, Mitchell urge ‘Yes’ vote on Question 1

Question 1 on the November 3rd ballot earned the support of two Maine political giants on Thursday, with the joint endorsement of U.S. Senator Angus King and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

The initiative would reform Maine’s campaign finance system by increasing campaign spending transparency, toughening penalties for campaign finance violations and restoring Maine’s Clean Elections system of limited public financing of state elections for qualifying candidates.

“It is possible to enact reasonable restraints on the flow of money into the political process and a ‘Yes’ vote on Question 1 is a step in the right direction,” said Mitchell, who served as Senate Majority leader from 1989 to 1995 and has since played a pivotal role in leading peace negotiations in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. “Today there is more money in politics than ever before and at the same time declining transparency. It is the worst of both worlds. But there is something Maine citizens can do to reduce the influence of money in politics and improve the system. This November, I urge Mainers to vote ‘Yes’ on Question 1. It’s an important way for all Mainers – Democrats, Republicans, Greens and independents – to protect their voice in our democracy, increase transparency in the political process, and support a system that prioritizes voters over donors.”

If the initiative passes, the renewed funding for the Clean Elections program will be paid for by eliminating $3 million a year in corporate tax breaks.

“I am deeply worried about the future of our democracy. Its fundamental principle has always been that the people govern. But the massive amount of money that flows into our system today only undermines that by drowning out the voices of everyday people,” said King, who is a vocal supporter of campaign finance reform in Congress. “By passing Question 1 we can return control of our elections to the hands of Mainers, restore faith in our political system and protect the fundamental principle of having a government that is truly of, by and for the people.”

King and Mitchell join a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans, Green, independents and more than 40 civic organizations that have endorsed the referendum in the lead-up to the vote. No real opposition to the initiative has yet emerged.

Photo via Facebook/Sen. King – King and Mitchell discuss the Iran nuclear disarmament deal at a University of Southern Maine forum in August.

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