As I walk neighborhoods and speak to voters I am usually asked what are some of the big issues that I intend to tackle. I often smile and explain that if elected I probably will not make many friends in the legislature because I strongly favor eliminating big money from government and establishing term limits. Obviously, career politicians do not want to hear me discuss the idea of them giving up their jobs. But I have never been one to worry about popularity over principles. I feel that most citizens are concerned about the big money flowing into politics. Money in politics is nothing new. Money and politics are like bread and butter. But things took a turn for the worse once the Supreme Court passed judgement on Citizens United. Now large corporations and super PACs spend fortunes on elections. Billions are being spent to buy control of federal and state offices.
Accepting these large campaign donations is one of the few bipartisan acts taking place in government these days. Candidates from both parties understand the importance of funding their campaign. They know that if their opponents are out spending them they are in real trouble of losing. And these big money donors are more likely to spend money on incumbents, already in positions of power, rather than on challengers. This makes it very difficult for new candidates to win office. It also explains why a Congress that has saw approval ratings in teens also sees a 90% reelection rate. And as these politicians gain seniority they take control over committee seats and take priority of writing legislation. This is unfair to states and districts that are rarely represented in these committees. Elected officials spend much of their days in office making calls and holding meetings aimed at raising money. Instead of spending their hours working for citizens, they spend several hours each day raising money. Political parties even demand that they raise specific amounts of money each day. Essentially, our elected officials are glorified telemarketers.
Money in politics leads to corruption and officials ignore their constituents in favor of big money donors. Politicians become concerned only with reelection. This leads them to either take sides with their biggest donors or to refuse to take a stand that they feel might jeopardize their chances at reelection. This leads to a do-nothing Congress.
By working on campaign finance reform and establishing term limits we can begin to correct some of the problems in government. By capping political donations, we can create a much fairer playing field. This limits the influence of the wealthy and corporations. Serving in government is supposed to be a service to state and country, not a career. By enacting term limits, we do away with career politicians. This opens the doors for more citizens to serve in office and to bring about new, fresh ideas. With term limits, maybe politicians will be less concerned about raising campaign funds and seek to make a greater impact on their communities with the time they have. Citizens are fed up with inaction in government. We are tired of being ignored. We are sick of reading about the billions being raised to buy elections. We can put an end to this. If elected I will call upon Tennesseans to assist me in enacting term limits. Together we can hand government back to the people.