Small Businesses Urge Support for Question 1
Today a group representing more than 4,000 Maine small businesses announced support for Maine's campaign finance reform referendum, which will appear as Question 1 on the November ballot. Business leaders and representatives from the Yes on Question 1 campaign spoke at Kimball Street Studios, a custom framing business in Lewiston.
Members of the Maine Small Business Coalition (MSBC) said Question 1 would elevate the voice of small businesses and everyday Mainers in the political process by increasing transparency in elections and limiting the influence that wealthy special interests and large corporations have on politicians.
"Without real campaign finance reform like Question 1, large corporations will always be able to tilt the scales in their favor. It’s the small business owners of Maine – lobstermen, shop owners, farmers, and contractors – and the issues we care about – who too often get left behind," said Bettyann Sheats, who owns Finishing Touches Shower Doors, a remodeling business in Auburn.
A recent national opinion poll conducted by the Small Business Majority found that 72 percent of small business owners across the country believe that major changes are needed to how campaigns are financed. The study also found that 85 percent of entrepreneurs support a campaign finance system, like Maine’s landmark Clean Election system, that uses only small contributions from voters and a limited amount of public funds. Question 1 seeks to repair and bolster that system.
"Because everyday people and small business owners like me can't write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists, our voice is being ignored. It's frustrating, it's discouraging and, quite frankly, it's hurting our democracy. That's why Question 1 is so important. It will make it so that everyone - not just the wealthy - can have a voice in our democracy," said Kevin Callahan, owner of Kimball Street Studios.
Question 1 is a grassroots, citizen-led, Maine initiative that has strong bipartisan support from citizens and more than 40 grassroots organizations.
- Increase transparency and disclosure by requiring special interest groups to list their top three donors on all political ads so that voters know right away who is trying to influence their vote.
- Increase accountability by toughening penalties and fines for candidates and special interest groups that break our campaign finance laws so that politicians are accountable to the people - not wealthy special interests.
- Encourage strict spending and contribution limits by strengthening Maine's Clean Election system so that candidates aren't beholden to special interests and big money donors.
For more information about Question 1, visit www.accountableelections.org.