Jill Stein on Government Reform
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
A: After we passed campaign finance reform in Massachusetts, I was working on that issue, thinking, "Oh, it's the money that stops us from shutting down our incinerators."
Q: You're referring to the "Clean Elections Law"; what year was this?
A: It was passed in 1998. It then got repealed by the legislature after passing on a two-to-one margin via a citizen referendum. The people of Massachusetts passed it by a 2-to-1 vote, so it was an enormous victory and it took two years for the legislature to turn around and repeal it on a voice vote and to me that said, "Okay, we can't even change the system by changing the system--we actually have to throw the bums out." This is a long-term political struggle.
Q: But you need people to actually implement the will of the people if you're going to have a democracy?
A: Exactly. Then the Green Party came to me and said, "Why don't you keep doing what you're doing and call it a campaign for Governor?
A: For us, it's about building and adapting for the future. There were great thing in our founding--we do need to protect our rights as defined by the Constitution. Those rights are perishing quickly right before our very eyes, with the extremely anti-civil-liberties positions adopted by the Obama administration. But while there are great things from America's founding, there are also not-so-great things. We need to be selective about what we worship in the past. We don't need to be arming state militias, for example. We are not counting African-Americans as 3/5 of a human being like at America's founding. And we don't tell women to stay in the kitchen and not be seen or heard or represented democratically.
A: We now have influence-peddling on steroids with Citizens United and the Super PACs. And Obama raising $1 billion for his campaign alone. We have a political system which is completely disconnected with the public, and connected instead with those with deep pockets who can find these campaigns with such extreme amounts.
The people of Massachusetts deserve a clean money campaign system that allows candidates to run for office without selling out to big money interests. Candidates who refuse to take tainted money should be able to compete on a level playing field.
The voters called for fundamental changes when they voted for the Clean Elections Law over ten years ago. Unfortunately, incumbent legislators who were profiting from the existing fundraising machinery repealed this reform on an unrecorded voice vote, opening the way to ten years of continued corruption and scandal. One of my top priorities will be to reestablish a clean money law that gives a fair break to candidates of integrity who refuse to participate in "pay-to-play" fundraising practices.
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Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Rocky Anderson(J)