Clean Elections: The reform that makes all other reforms possible

I’m hoping you share my goal of getting money out of politics – or at least greatly reducing its impact.

To be clear, I am not some aging Pollyanna who thinks we can turn our government and political system into something that is all sweetness and light.

But we can make it better and today I’m asking you to help make that happen.

Please, Please, Please – send in testimony in support of SB1543 NOW if you can and certainly no later than Tuesday at 10am!

SB1543 “Establishes a comprehensive system of public financing for all candidates seeking election to state and county public offices in the State of Hawaiʻi”.

This is critical. No in-person oral testimony is allowed so we need to flood them with overwhelming written support, which has to be submitted 24 hours before the hearing.

Please also forward this message to two of your friends!

If can, mark your calendar for this Wednesday 2/22 at 10am and attend the hearing in-person at the Capitol in Conference Room 211. Even though oral testimony isn’t allowed, it’s important we have a strong visible presence.

Publicly funded elections have been called the reform that makes all other reforms possible.

Point #1 – Money now has a huge impact on elections

Candidates must actively seek donations that create relationships that can cause corruption or the perception of it.

Legislators listen to donors, since they fund their campaigns.

Money is crucial to winning. 91% of candidates who outspend their opponent go on to win.

Many elections are uncontested because potential candidates can’t afford the high price tag.

Point #2 – Clean Elections creates a fairer system

Candidates will spend more time with constituents rather than fundraising.

Elections will be more competitive with a more diverse set of candidates.

Legislators will be free to make decisions without concern as to what their donors think.

74% of Hawai’i voters support full publicly financed elections.

Point #3 Cost of this program is small

At less than $25 million, a $3 visitor fee or cannabis legalization would generate more than enough to pay for it.

Legislators who aren’t beholden to donors can save costs elsewhere in the budget.

Point #4 We aren’t reinventing the wheel

Big Island County Council races had a similar program in 2010 and 2012.

Connecticut and Maine have clean elections statewide which are both popular and successful.

Over 70% of Democratic legislators use this program in Maine.

SB1543 would set up a system of fully publicly financed elections, a.k.a. clean elections. It would provide participating candidates with competitive amounts of funding they need to run an effective campaign, and would ban them from receiving any private donations at all.

Passing into law, publicly financed elections is the single most important thing we can do to end pay-to-play corruption in our politics and start building a Hawaiʻi that puts kamaʻāina and kānaka maoli first — not big money interests.

Please take the action. Send the email. Tell your friends. Show up on Wednesday if you can. Support SB1543!

Gary Hooser
*Mahalo to the many friends working on this important issue for allowing me to borrow some of their words, describing the bill and its impacts 😉

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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