The great problem at the heart of every issue facing this nation is the fact that we cannot trust our elected lawmakers to operate solely in the best interests of the American people. When we see Rep. Peter Roskam vote for a bill like H.R. 230 – which allowed companies to auction off our private Internet data – we would be foolish not to question his motives. Considering not one person who voted in favor of this legislation even attempted to make the case for how it helps the American citizen, we must regrettably conclude that this vote was made with someone else’s interests in mind. It comes as no surprise to learn that Peter Roskam has taken more money from special interests than almost any other Member of Congress.
As long as money continues to play such an outsized role in our political system, we will continue to see policies skewed heavily in favor of corporations and billionaires. We must do all we can to overturn Citizens United, which allows corporations to pour unlimited money into campaigns. I also support legislation that would mandate all political spending comes from public funds,leveling the playing field so that those with the most money don’t also have the biggest voice in our political system.
But even in the absence of major legislation to regulate private campaign contributions, there is still hope for our democracy. I was inspired by the success of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016, given that he ran such a competitive campaign despite refusing to take money from special interests. He proved what I always wanted to believe: a strong message is much more important than a big checkbook.
Bernie’s historic run led me to believe that even with six figures of college loan debt and no wealthy friends, I could still run a competitive race. And I will run the race as he did: I pledge that I will accept no donations from special interests or lobbyists during this campaign or while in office, and you should expect any candidate you consider casting your vote for to do the same. I believe with a clear, bold message and shrewd use of the Internet to spread that message cheaply, we can flip this seat blue – and in so doing, free the district from the shackles of special interests. The more victories like this, the more people will start to see that the financially-strapped many can overpower the wealthy few, Citizens United be damned.
Paid for and Authorized by Ryan Huffman for Congress