TONIGHT: Exploring the landscape of Prince George’s politics minus big-money influence

Join an informational meeting TONIGHT (Thursday, Jan. 25) on the prospects for a Small-Donor Public Financing program for county elections, sponsored by the Prince George’s Sierra Club and the Fair Elections Maryland Coalition.


 

As previously noted in this PM BlogSpace,

“In the 2014 election, the average winning Prince George's council candidate spent nearly $60,000 and the County Executive spent $1.5 million. The vast majority of those contributions – more than 80% -- came from wealthy donors, who donated more than $150. In 2018, we will also have two additional At Large council seats [and those, running countywide, could be way more expensive still]. When our elected officials seek re-election or another office, will their donors “get what they pay for?” If they feel their contributions don’t have a direct benefit, would they help them fund a future campaign? This mutual expectations game pollutes our governance.”

The effects of big money on the county’s policy decisions – rampant, poorly managed development despite resistance from organized and fired-up communities, most prominently – are clear to all. How to sidestep this? A small donor program would reward candidates who pass up big money and the obligations that come with it in favor of small donations matched by public funding.

Find out more tonight.

Thursday, January 25 -- Forum: Small-Donor Public Financing Program for Prince George's County Elections.   Kenhill Center2614 Kenhill Drive, Room 101, Bowie MD 20715, 7 pm.

ballot_box.jpgDo you want to reduce the influence of wealthy interests and increase the power of regular Prince Georgians in County politics?  To enable grassroots candidates to compete effectively for County Council and Executive?  Then join us in Bowie for a public forum to discuss legislation that would create a Small-Donor Public Financing Program for County elections – allowing citizens to run on the power of their ideas instead of the size of wealthy interests’ bank accounts.  

The program would work by amplifying small dollar donations to candidates who show sufficient community support and agree to accept donations only of $150 or less from individuals.  A similar program has been launched in Montgomery County and has brought out many grassroots candidates! 

 The forum's panel will feature:

  • Mary Lehman, Prince George's County Councilwoman (the bill's lead sponsor)
  • Phil Andrews, former Montgomery Council member (initiated the Montgomery program),
  • Joanne Antoine (Common Cause/Maryland Fair Elections Coalition), and
  • A participating candidate from a nearby jurisdiction.

 Sponsored by the Prince George’s Sierra Club and the Fair Elections Maryland Coalition.   Registration not required, but appreciated for planning. To register: https://sierra.secure.force.com/events/details?formcampaignid=7010Z000001P2PAQA0

For more information on the Fair Elections Maryland Coalition:  http://www.fairelectionsmaryland.org/home.html.

More on the proposed Prince George’s Small Donor program here and here.

On the high cost of running for office anywhere in Maryland, with an interview on public election financing with Prince George’s Sen. Paul Pinsky.