LTE: GOP shattering tradition of citizen legislators

To the editor,

Public office is not supposed to be exclusively for the wealthy, and Minnesota has a proud tradition of supporting citizen legislators. But a bill proposed by Republicans in the state House and Senate eliminates the public subsidy for candidates, which has been in place for over 25 years. This subsidy gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to seek state offices and helps limit out-of-control spending on state-level elections. Repeal of this subsidy will provide tremendous
advantage to incumbents, and will enable runaway campaign spending in our state House and Senate races.
Not having this subsidy also means candidates need to spend more time fundraising and less time understanding what’s important to constituents. This is a very bad change that’s obviously intended to benefit incumbents and increase big money influence.
To qualify for the subsidy, candidates agree to spending limits and are required to collect a set amount of
contributions ($1,500 total for a House candidate). In return, they receive an amount that varies each cycle depending on the funding pool — usually around $5,000 for a House race. For anyone running for the House for the first time, this is a substantial amount, and allows every citizen to have the ability to run if they desire to do so.
Please contact your Minnesota House representative and senator to let them know you oppose eliminating the Public Campaign Subsidy and support citizen legislators!

Cathy Olson
Minnesota Senate District 33 DFL chairperson