Editor's note: This letter has been updated to reflect the correct hearing date before the Howard County Council.
The news outlets have been quiet in Howard County these days. Perhaps the "sanctuary bill" debate was an anomaly ( "After immigration bill fails, Kittleman and Weinstein call for county-wide policy review," March 9), but there continue to be important bills before the County Council that warrant attention.
Perhaps the most timely bill is CB30 concerning public financing of election campaigns. With the upswell of people becoming political and being interested in running for office, the importance of this bill could not be more timely. CB30 provides public financing for those candidates who pledge to receive no more than $250 per donor (outside of certain specified family members). A low monetary donation means that our elected officials will not be "bought" by special interests and that being an elected official is not limited to those with big business ties or who are independently wealthy.
Many of the complaints coming out of the latest election cycle concern business interests affecting policy decisions and politicians being elected who are out of touch with regular Americans. Public financing is the answer to the question of how to change politics as usual. Not only does public financing allow a more diverse group of people to run for office, but it also engages more people in the electoral process as they feel as if their contributions actually make a difference.
The council hears testimony on April 19 and will vote in the regular course thereafter. It is important that all of our voices be heard on the issue and in favor of a more diverse candidate slate and a way to engage more of our electorate in the process. It is up to all of us to fight for our voice and to maintain our democracy in a way that insures that a diverse cross-section of our community is heard and heeded. Public financing is an important way to move forward.
Becca Niburg, Laurel