Voters Endorse Campaign Finance Reform, But Want Tax Payer Money Kept Out [Commentary]

August 12, 2005

A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University revealed that, like me, Connecticut residents are tired of special interest money playing a role in our state’s legislative election process. A decisive eighty-seven percent of voters surveyed believe that lobbyists and state contractors have undue influence over elected state officials.

The poll also revealed, contrary to claims by certain legislators, that Connecticut residents do not want taxpayer dollars used to finance political campaigns. By a 47-42 margin, voters rejected the notion that public financing is the best way to reform campaign financing.

It is excellent news that voters recognize that their tax-payer dollars should not be used to finance campaigns for candidates that they may not even support and that there are dozens of better uses for Connecticut citizens’ hard-earned tax money. The money could be spent on more meaningful projects like helping our local schools, improving our state’s road, or providing property tax relief for local municipalities.

It is unfortunate that the Majority Party has failed to embrace a plan that would completely eliminate lobbyists and state contractors’ funding from the political process. They seem convinced that public financing is the only solution and continue to push for such reform when it is clear that the voters want the state to move in a different direction.

In my eyes, the only way to truly “clean-up” the system is to completely eliminate all campaign funding from both lobbyists and state contractors. Elections should be decided by which candidates have the most support in their respective districts, not by which candidate can secure the most special interest money. Doors to candidacy for elected office should be open to all Connecticut citizens, not just those who have special interest support behind them.

Currently, a working group consisting of legislators from both sides of the political aisle is holding a series of meetings and public hearings in order to formulate a proposal to improve Connecticut’s election laws. I am hopeful that they listen to the people of Connecticut and draft a proposal that targets special interest money and keeps our state’s taxpayer dollars out of it.

My proposal is simple, fast, and effectively eliminates all lobbyist money and contractor money fro the political process. I want to do what is best for my district and the state as a whole. Please call my office toll-free at
1(800) 841-1421 with any comments or suggestions you may have on improving the electoral process in Connecticut. I value your input and look forward to hearing from you.