Look no further than your television to see what our broken campaign finance system has to offer our democracy. Instead of focusing on issues, Democratic and Republican politicians dump thousands of dollars into campaign ads that openly insult the intelligence of voters.
We don’t need a soft focus lens and a picturesque backdrop to determine if you’re a good candidate. Likewise we don’t need scary music and anguished actors to determine if something is bad. Cheap editing tricks won’t sway many voters.
What matters to people is standing clearly for issues and going as direct to voters as possible to make your case. I’m opposed to our corrupt campaign finance system, which allows for unlimited sums of money to be donated in state elections. Most politicians will tell you the same, but it’s also important they practice what they preach. Look at their donations and spending to see how committed to campaign finance reform any given politician is.
All of my campaign donations have been from individuals who contributed $100 or less. Since I entered the race for House District 32, I have openly rejected corporate and PAC money.
More than a third of registered voters in our district are non-affiliated or members of third parties. I suspect a major contributor in voters’ aversion to the two major parties is their lack of substance on issues. Too often modern politics consists of platitudes that masquerade as policy.
An example of this is how “affordable” is used in front of words without further explanation. Everyone can agree we want affordable healthcare, but your definition is bound to change depending on your economic circumstance. Ask a person making $35,000 a year what “affordable” is and their answer will be different than a person making $135,000.
That’s why I believe we need a national single-payer healthcare system, in which the government provides healthcare regardless of income. A recent study by the Mercatus Center, a right-wing think tank at George Mason University, found that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders “Medicare for All” bill would save the United States $2 trillion in healthcare costs (mostly in administrative) between 2022 and 2031.
You can have disagreements with me, as you may on my health care policy, but at least you know where I stand. I will never insult the intelligence of voters with vague rhetoric. It’s fundamental to our democracy that voters know where candidates stand on issues during an election.
I encourage everyone reading to get involved in the upcoming election and learn as much as you can about the issues and candidates. Thank you to all the great folks organizing the upcoming candidate forums in our area.
If you see me on the campaign trail please say “hi” — and don’t be afraid to give me a piece of your mind. The more we can stay engaged in conversation, the more we can achieve together!
Brian P. Halvorsen, Rockaway Beach, OR
Brian P. Halvorsen is the Independent Party nominee for Oregon House District 32 (firstname.lastname@example.org)