“Government of the people, by the people, for the people” — for that principle I served in the military. For that principle, I ran for elected office last year. The Maine Clean Elections system made that possible for me.

Since 1996, the Maine Clean Elections Fund has made limited funds available to anyone running for office, so people of all incomes and social circles stood a chance against those backed by corporations and the wealthy.

The voluntary system worked, and it made Maine a leader in the country. By 2008, 80 percent of the candidates for the Legislature used the system, from all parties. The Clean Elections system helped keep election expenses reasonable, with most candidates for the Legislature spending less than $5,000 on their campaigns.

But the 2010 Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision declared that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited dollars on electioneering. It then ruled against matching funds that are key to systems such as Maine’s. While I was able to run as a Clean Elections candidate, matching funds were not available. That’s why fewer candidates relied on Clean Elections this past election.

Republican Sen. Edward Youngblood has introduced legislation that would restore Clean Election funding, while complying with the new Supreme Court rules.

The issue isn’t about Republicans, Democrats or independents. It is about good government.

The Legislature should do the right thing — listen to the voice of the people, and take a stand for democracy.

Bettyann Sheats, Auburn

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