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Speak out against big money in politics

By Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 Letters

To the editor:

Berkshire residents have a unique opportunity Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. to speak out against the enormous problem of big money in politics at a Citizens Commission Town Hall Meeting at the St. Stephens Church in Pittsfield.

The Citizens Commission resulted from a law passed by 71 percent of Massachusetts voters in a citizens ballot initiative in November 2018. Over 1,000 volunteers helped speak with hundreds of thousands of voters and collect over 130,000 signatures to place Question 2 on the ballot.

Currently, the Commission is holding town hall meetings across the Commonwealth to receive input from Massachusetts citizens regarding their thoughts, feelings, experiences and suggestions related to overturning the devastating 2010 Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling, getting big money out of politics and un-corrupting the U.S. government. Individuals are encouraged to give oral and/or written testimony at this meeting.

Oral presentations will be limited to approximately three to five minutes, to be determined by the number of attendees. There is no restriction on the length of written testimony, and written testimony can be submitted to abloom46@gmail.com even if you can’t attend the meeting. Testimonies do not need to be long or fancy. Even a few sentences will be welcomed. The emphasis is on helping the Commission gain a better understanding of how money in politics affects the issues you care about, and subsequently how this impacts your family, your community, your business, etc.

Here is a sample testimony: “One example that impacts me personally is gun control. As a parent and teacher, mass shootings are a serious concern. People are dying in our country because the NRA has bought influence from politicians who are unwilling to ban assault weapons because they are receiving financial contributions and are beholden to this organization. It is wrong for the NRA and gun industry to be valued above human life. Please set sensible limits on campaign financing and take American lives out of the hands of big money interests.”

In an independent 2019 study by University of Maryland, 66 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats expressed support of a constitutional amendment outlawing Citizens United v. FEC.  This is a loud and clear bipartisan mandate for change.

Please consider participating in this important event. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport.

Andrew Bloom
West Stockbridge