The Howard County Council is about to hold a hearing on a timely bill. It’s not County Bill 9, the “sanctuary bill,” which received a lot of attention; it’s County Bill 30, concerning public financing. With an upswell of people becoming political and interested in running for office, the importance of this bill cannot be overstated. Public financing for candidates who pledge to receive no more than $250 per donor (outside of certain specified family members) would mean that our elected officials would not be “bought” by special interests and that being an elected official would not be limited to those with big-business ties or those who are independently wealthy.
Many of the complaints coming out of the latest election cycle concerned business interests affecting policy decisions and politicians being elected who are out of touch with regular Americans. Public financing is essential to changing politics as usual. Not only could a more diverse group of people run for office, but more people would become engaged in the electoral process if they felt their contributions would make a difference.
The Howard County Council hears testimony April 19 and will vote soon thereafter. It is important that all of our voices be heard on the issue, and in favor of a more diverse candidate slate and a way to engage more of our electorate in the process. Public financing is an important way for us to retake and maintain our democracy.
Becca Niburg, Laurel