REMARKS AS PREPARED
Testimony on Campaign Finance Reform
April 21, 2015
Good afternoon, Chair Rosenbaum, Members
of the Committee. My name is Kate Brown and I’m serving as Oregon’s Governor,
here today to testify briefly in favor of campaign finance limits.
Although my title and position has
recently transitioned, my voice on this issue has been steadfast through my
years in public service. I care about money in politics. And that’s why I am
here today. SJR 5 is a constitutional amendment that would create the
much-needed opportunity for a thoughtful dialogue on what reasonable campaign
finance limits in Oregon could and should look like.
According to The Oregonian,
more than $23 million dollars was
spent on Legislative races in 2014 alone. To offer a bit of perspective, that
is more per capita than just about any other state in the nation. No one should
be able to buy a megaphone so big that it drowns out every other
voice. The First Amendment was intended to protect political discourse for
all Oregonians, not just those with the deepest pockets.
Speech, political speech especially,
is fundamental to our great state and our great nation. In fact, the free
speech protections in the Oregon Constitution are often interpreted as even
stronger than protections offered under the U.S. Constitution.
SJR 5 does not threaten or undermine individual
rights afforded under either Constitution. Instead, by amending Article II,
section 8 of the Oregon Constitution, the part of the Constitution that addresses
elections policy, SJR 5 would make it possible to consider law changes,
such as those in SB 75, that would significantly curtail the role money plays in
Oregon politics – without, and most importantly— undermining Oregonians’ First
Truly representative leadership and
access to decision-making roles requires meaningful change to the status
quo. We can’t begin to address the status quo until we address the
constitutional issues. SJR 5 is that beginning.
Oregonians have time and again proven
that they want campaign finance reform. It’s our job as state policy makers to
find the best way to accomplish it.
Again, thank you for having me.