MN Move to Amend State Network
Pushes Candidates to Strengthen Representative Democracy
By Barbara Gerten and Dave Moseman
July 26, 2018
MINNESOTA - In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. F.E.C. declared that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment. Since then citizens throughout the U.S. have expressed concern about our democracy.
A national poll of America’s 18 to 29 year olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, conducted in March of this year, finds that nearly two thirds (64%) of young Americans have more fear than hope about the future of democracy in America.1
A May 2018 study by the Program for Public Consultation of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, “indicates that most Americans — 88 percent overall — want to reduce the influence large campaign donors wield over lawmakers at a time when a single congressional election may cost tens of millions of dollars.” 2
In response to these concerns Move to Amend is pushing for passage of the We the People Amendment (HJR48), while building a diverse movement of citizens educated on how the amendment and our participation can improve our democracy.
This amendment to the U.S. Constitution would make clear that Constitutional Rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and must be regulated in political campaigns.
To determine whether candidates share the same concerns that voters have about our representative democracy, Minnesota Move to Amend State Network gave every candidate running for a Minnesota State House seat, those running for the two U.S. Senate seats, and those aspiring for a state executive office, an opportunity to Pledge to Amend.
Pledge to Amend is a candidate or elected official's promise to use their office to work against the distortion of our politics and governance by money and corporate power wherever he or she can. A first step would be to help the Minnesota legislature in the next biennium pass a bill that directs Congress to propose the We the People Amendment. If successful, Minnesota would become the 20th state to petition Congress for an amendment on this subject. An affirmative response from the U.S. Senate candidates would demonstrate agreement with HJR48 in the U.S. House, and their support for a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
Minnesota voters can find candidate responses in the attached pdf.
Below are examples of statements by candidates committed to using their public office to end corporate constitutional rights and big money in politics.
"The constitution needs to be changed/amended on the national level. I can speak in favor of and support the change by being a voice to educate the public on why this is important to all of us. Education to the general public is very crucial to make the change to the Constitution of the United States. We the people are the government and our voices need to be heard on this issue to effect change." - Pat Medure, MN 5a candidate
“I am motivated to address this issue because of what happened in this district’s race in 2016. The two candidates spent approximately $140,000 on the race; outside spending was approximately $860,000. This disparity is easily enough to distort the democratic process. By continuing to speak out and by banding with like-minded state legislators and interested parties in the general public, I will work to reject the notion that “corporations are people” and to regulate campaign spending at all levels." - Alice Mann, 56b candidate
The Minnesota Move to Amend State Network is part of the national Move to Amend organization (www.movetoamend.org), which has similar efforts in 30 states supported by petition signers from all 50 states.
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- Citizens United v. FEC: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC
- Move to Amend: https://www.movetoamend.org/
- Move to Amend MN: https://movetoamend.org/minnesota
- Pledge to Amend: https://movetoamend.org/pledge-amend-2018