Guest Breaking News:Getting a lot of money out of politics is a bipartisan issue | Opinion

Guest Column: Getting a lot of money out of politics is a bipartisan issue |  Opinion

Source www.bendbulletin.com

We are living in difficult times. Our politics has become more polarized and our discourse coarser. The increase in spending to influence our democratic processes and the loss of transparency in who is funding those efforts is a key contributor to those dynamics. Enacting campaign finance reform is an important step we can take to curb the influence of money and restore confidence in our democracy. Elections should be determined by how candidates can secure support and build consensus on how our state should be governed, not the ability to cater to those with the most resources to spend. It is time for the Oregon Legislature to enact meaningful campaign finance reform that provides true limits and transparency in how money is used in our elections. The ability for a small group of individuals or organizations to use unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections distorts our democratic process and saps the public’s confidence in our elections. Our nation is founded on the principle of one person, one vote. How can the average citizen believe we are living up to that value when a handful of large funders can dictate the public debate? Controlling the power of money in our elections restores power to the people and empowers candidates to run on their ideas, not the special interests they can woo.

State Sen. Jeff Golden is a Democrat representing Ashland. State Sen. Tim Knopp is a Republican representing Bend. Now is the time for our Legislature to lead in this next step in electoral reform. Oregon is a national model in supporting every citizen’s ability to vote. Ensuring that the choices presented to voters are driven by who can attract the most support, not the most money, will make that vote that much more meaningful. We believe in a deeper democracy where a rancher, a teacher, and social worker all have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

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