Until a few years ago, teachers, waitresses and firefighters could run for office in Maine -- and win.
A republic which remains unchecked by the people it was intended to represent is in no form a republic. Because of the people of Maine, in November, America will witness a decision handed down not by the government or special interests, but by the people.
The legislation includes tighter contribution limits and beefed-up enforcement of New York's campaign finance laws. But its centerpiece is a "fair elections" program that would boost the clout of small-dollar campaign donors by supplementing their modest contributions with public matching funds.
What happened in Albany last week has major implications for national anti-corruption efforts that are central to making progress on the issues that you care about most, yet keep losing. Health care, climate change, education, financial oversight, military spending... the list goes on.
"It's not that the system is broken," says the conservative populist Governor Buddy Roemer, "it's that it's bought." The question that logically follows is what we, the American people, can do about it. How can we remove the corroding influence of money in politics?
The state of New York has become an embarrassing example of what can happen when money is allowed to rule politics. But New York and its governor, Andrew Cuomo, now have an opportunity to shed the state's pay-to-play image.
I believe in an American Dream predicated on a system where everyone plays by the same rules, where the game isn't rigged to benefit the elite at the expense of the rest of us, and where a convenience store clerk can run for state office -- and win.
The New York City model provides a six-to-one match for small-dollar donations up to $175 each. That means that a $20 donation
Simply overturning Citizens United won't provide us with a campaign system that provides fair results. We were doing poorly before Citizens United, too. We need a far more aggressive change than just overturning that one ruling.
After two years of growing public opposition and mounting evidence of the damage of uncontrolled money in politics, the Court should reconsider its decision in Citizens United.