It may not be exactly a David-Goliath battle, but proponents of Amendment 1, which will be on the November ballot, are the little people up against wealthy lobbyists and many legislators in pushing for major reforms in state government.
The little people have an organization called Clean Missouri, which has some funding, but nothing compared to what big money and powerful lobbyists and legislators can muster.
The little people collected the needed signatures to put the issue of ethics reforms on the ballot. It took over a year, but they had support from all over Missouri.
One of the proponents is Patricia Schuba, from Labadie, who has been a voice for reforms, from clean air to clean government, for a long time. She is co-owner of a farm, well-educated and an activist who is willing to do battle with powerful forces. When Clean Missouri kicked off its campaign for Amendment 1 in Washington Wednesday, she said this:
hen we rein in lobbyists and get big money out of state politics, we force candidates to win our votes, debate the issues, and represent us — their constituents. Too often, the only people running for political offices are the rich or well-connected, or people who cave to special interests once they are elected. This amendment levels the playing field, making it easier for citizens to run for office. That is good for Missouri’s democracy, and we need more regular people, like us, looking out for us.”
ngie Dunlap, board member of the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis, added: “Lobbyists, big donors and small groups of political insiders have too much control and influence over Missouri state government. Amendment 1 is an opportunity to make our state government more
transparent and limit the power of lobbyists and big money donors in our Legislature.”
Amendment 1 would eliminate nearly all gifts to members of the General Assembly; require that legislative records be open to the public; establish a two-year waiting period for General Assembly members to become lobbyists after leaving office; lower campaign gifts to legislative candidates; and ensure that neither party is given an unfair advantage when new district maps are drawn after census figures are known.
Politicians, that is many of them, are attacking Amendment 1 because of the redistricting requirement. They don’t want to give added public attention to gifts to members of the General Assembly, campaign contributions, the influence lobbyists have due to the money-force they represent and the current secrecy in government.
In other words, most officeholders who would be affected don’t want matters to change. They like the status quo. They eat up the perks given. Lobbyists, that is many of them, like things the way they are.
Money corrupts. It’s present in state government. Clean Missouri, if passed, would be a major ethics reform measure. If you really want to limit the money-influence environment in state government, you will vote for Amendment 1.