SANTA FE, N.M. — My opponent for the City Council seat in District 4 recently wrote a commentary, “Not the Time to Finance Campaigns,” published in the Dec. 18 Journal Santa Fe.
I would like to offer the following response.
After reading his take on publicly financed campaigns, I couldn’t help but wonder if my opponent had been watching and listening to the protesters – the hardworking men and women on the news for the past several months.
If now is not the time to embrace public financing for candidates and elections, then I would like to ask Mr. Dimas, “When is the time?”
The truth is, it will not be possible for us to undo economic inequities or reform political abuse of power until we shatter the control that special interest money has had over Congress and every elected official tempted or coerced by the conditions of it.
Public financing of elections is the single most important reform we can make as a country, state, city and community, because it will facilitate the progress of every other reform and will ultimately unleash the corporate hold on our political system. It won’t happen overnight, but where do we begin?
We can begin right here in a City Council race in Santa Fe.
Public financing was widely approved throughout our city in 2008. The citizens overwhelmingly supported publicly financed candidates, and polling has consistently shown high percentages in favor of it.
It isn’t easy to qualify for public financing – it takes effort: lots of forms, correct documentation, pledges and most importantly, the acceptance from each candidate that their campaign will be transparent and they had better spend wisely, because they will be under the watchful eye of every citizen in Santa Fe.
I welcome the scrutiny. I am proud to be a publicly financed candidate.
We can make this monumental change together because we all know where the road leads in our current campaign financing system. There are responsible citizens everywhere ready to join in by rejecting the influence that money buys.
Let the playing field be leveled and let our federal, state and local policies be shaped and implemented by concepts, vision and compromise, rather than money.
Robertson Lopez is a retired state worker and former long-time city councilor who is again a candidate for the Santa Fe City Council District 4 seat. Also on the ballot is Bill Dimas, a retired chief magistrate judge, former Santa Fe police officer and also a former city councilor.