Howard needs cam­paign re­form

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - War­ren Wort­man, Columbia

I sup­port Ques­tion A on the Howard County bal­lot and urge ev­ery­one to vote in fa­vor of pub­licly funded po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns.

I at­tended a Ques­tion A house party and learned that par­tic­i­pat­ing can­di­dates can­not ac­cept con­tri­bu­tions over $150 or cor­po­rate con­tri­bu­tions. Past pres­i­dent of the NAACP, Ben Jeal­ous, also spoke at the house party about two po­lit­i­cal forces, or­ga­nized money (for ex­am­ple, PACs and cor­po­ra­tions) and or­ga­nized peo­ple (grass­roots). In Fa­timah Waseem’s very fair ar­ti­cle (“Vot­ers will de­cide if Howard County will have pub­licly funded cam­paigns,” Oct. 19), she men­tions a dis­turb­ing fact — “Less than one-third of dona­tions for all lo­cal races in 2010 and 2014 came from Howard County res­i­dents.” Pub­licly funded cam­paigns al­low or­ga­nized peo­ple to be heard over the mega­phone of or­ga­nized money.

Ques­tion A will also ex­pand op­por­tu­ni­ties to run for of­fice. This is al­ready true at the state level where Gov. Larry Ho­gan was the first can­di­date in Mary­land his­tory to win us­ing public funds. I think Lau­rel lawyer Dave Lo­ef­fler misses the point of when he op­poses Ques­tion A stat­ing, “that some­one could be giv­ing their hard-earned tax dol­lars to some­one they fun­da­men­tally dis­agree with.” As Kurt Von­negut says, “If you are an Amer­i­can, you must al­low all ideas to cir­cu­late freely in your com­mu­nity, not merely your own.”

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