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Warren Valdmanis is a husband or wife at a Portland-dependent private fairness small business and a member of the Management Now Job. Fletcher Kittredge is founder and CEO of GWI, a Maine fiber infrastructure business.
Just two yrs ago, we in Maine celebrated two generations of statehood — two generations of Mainers building community choices for ourselves. Maine has constantly experienced an unbiased streak, primarily with regards to politics. While Maine liked the 3rd-maximum voter turnout amount in the country in 2020, it is also 1 of a shrinking selection of purple states whose voters tend to chart an impartial class. Sadly, that independence is increasingly endangered by an avalanche of exterior affect and political spending.
Maine has a big difficulty with political shelling out. In Maine’s 2020 U.S. Senate election, exterior groups and the campaigns spent nearly $200 million to influence the consequence, shattering Maine’s preceding campaign shelling out data and diluting the voice of our voters. Possibly a lot more troubling however, Hydro-Quebec, a business exclusively owned by a international federal government, used much more than $22 million in support of the Central Maine Electric power corridor — you nearly surely saw the adverts on tv.
What you didn’t see is that this Canadian organization stood to make much more than $12 billion from a favorable consequence. At the exact time, Canada itself has been functioning to go legislation protecting its elections from foreign federal government intrusion.
As community business-folks, we drastically enjoy Maine’s shut ties with Canada and its eastern provinces. But when it comes to local politics, we consider it is essential to go away issues impacting Mainers to Maine people and voters by themselves.
Over and above Maine, weakening marketing campaign finance controls and billions of bucks — usually undisclosed — are funding harmful attack messages, undermining rely on in American elections and the foundations of our democracy. This should subject to all of us, which includes company leaders in Maine and across The us. Experts have lengthy argued that a sturdy democracy is an critical ingredient of our no cost-organization procedure and a driver of enduring aggressive benefit. Totally free markets depend on a well-functioning and accountable federal government untainted by impact from those people who won’t have to dwell with the results of that government’s decisions.
Which is why a nonpartisan coalition of regional leaders from throughout Maine has introduced an work to tackle these complications head-on. The Shield Maine Elections proposal aims to shut a harmful loophole that lets overseas governments to specifically fund campaigns to affect the end result of elections initiated by Maine voters and would demand general public disclosure on advertisements indirectly funded by overseas governments and businesses managed by them. Enterprise leaders can guarantee Maine’s economic system stays potent by endorsing the Defend Maine Elections ballot initiative and encouraging their staff to indication on in assist as nicely.
As business enterprise leaders ourselves, we perspective attempts to undermine our elections — no matter whether from foreign actors or partisan actors appropriate listed here at house — as threats to a stable enterprise natural environment. Prevalent-sense limitations on election spending mitigate the danger to democracy and thus to our economy, which previously faces all kinds of other macroeconomic uncertainty.
The suitable operating of capitalism in Maine and beyond relies upon on ensuring our elections are consultant and protected. The very last 18 months have shown that business can increase to the challenge in these critical times: dozens of significant corporations meaningfully altered their political contributions following the January 6 insurrection. These shifts from businesses of all measurements present they recognize that safeguarding our democratic program and the rule of law is in their greatest desire.
Maine has normally served the rest of the region to shift our democracy forward. We sense we have to defend our condition from outside influence as a reasonable next stage. And if we want to ensure a steady and flourishing financial system for our staff members and buyers, it is the responsibility of Maine organization leaders to be at the forefront of that exertion.
To master more about the Safeguard Maine Elections effort and hard work, take a look at https://www.protectmaineelections.com and be part of an forthcoming webinar with Rep. Jared Golden and state Sen. Rick Bennett at 12 p.m. April 21.