Dwight Eisenhower rightfully warned us of the “military-industrial complex”, where profits overshadow ethics and human life, when it comes to our use of force. Today, we see this echoed throughout our society, from our private prison system to school lunches. All of these issues stem from political corruption fueled by our “campaign-industrial complex.” Campaign spending is out of hand, with millions being thrown into races that could be better used fixing the schools we are fighting about improving. Politicians face immense pressure to spend inordinate amounts of time fundraising instead of doing the job they were elected to do. They spend time talking to wealthy donors instead of constituents. Our priorities are out of whack, with money going to TV ads instead of textbooks so the wealthiest among us can buy political influence.
We need large scale campaign and campaign finance reform to fix this mess. Ordinary people with jobs and families should be able to run for office, win and represent their neighbors, not just millionaires with millionaire friends. We need shorter campaign cycles with public financing and public debates of all candidates like other industrialized nations. Corporations should not be able to buy elections with huge independent expenditures and election finance loopholes. I’m for the overturning of Citizens United and increasing restrictions on independent expenditures. In this campaign, I will not be taking nor soliciting any corporate funds and am committed to grassroots organizing.
Our elections also need to be easier to vote in! Our voting system is outdated in terms of security and access. Voting twice a year on a weekday is a ridiculous way to be inclusive, especially to people working hard to get by. We need an overhaul of our voting system to make sure everybody has the opportunity to vote and that every vote is counted correctly. We need automatic voter registration of all people over 18 and to move to either completely paper mail-in ballots or an online electronic system developed by computer scientists with cybersecurity expertise. At the very least, we need to move voting day to a weekend or multiple days and update our voting machines. No state should be too poor to have sound elections, and the Federal Government needs to step up when voting machines are no longer reliable.
Reforming our campaign finance system and preserving voter rights are essential to preserving our democracy. When implemented, these changes will return accountability of representatives to all people and ensure everybody’s voice is heard equally.
Science - a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
I invite you to join me in the effort to reconcile the needs of the PA 7th with pragmatic scientific solutions. We should not have to accept an aversion to fact-based research and informed decision making in our national policies. We shouldn’t leave the fate of our planet to people who reject scientific fact!