Saving Citizen Election Program

November 19, 2015

Earlier this week in an effort to solve our current budget deficit, the leaders of my party presented a plan to balance the budget that called for suspending our state's public financing election law in 2016. I have been proud to lead the effort against this foolish proposal and I am even prouder to say we succeeded.

This law, known as the Citizen's Election Program (CEP), was created in the aftermath of the Rowland scandal with the simple premise of getting big money out of state politics and leveling the playing field. Instead of having to spend hours of each day begging people for money, CEP requires a candidate for state representative to raise $5,000 in increments of no more than $100 from at least 150 people who live in your district. In return, the state gives you about $25,000 to use on your campaign.

There are some who said getting rid of this program is "good politics" and it will help incumbents like myself get re-elected. But I didn't run for office just to get re-elected; I ran to do my best to fight for good government for our state and suspending the Citizens Election Program would have taken us back to an era where lobbyists and special interests dominated campaigns.

Connecticut faces many challenges when it comes to our budget and tough choices are on the horizon. But eliminating the program that keeps citizens rather than the special interests in control of who serves them in the legislature shouldn't have been one of them and I'm proud we succeeded in stopping this disastrous cut.