by Ben Cullop
Corporate special interests have too much sway in Washington and I’m tired of it.
In July, I decided to file my paperwork to explore a run for Congress in Virginia’s 5th district because I was tired of watching the community I’ve known my entire life being ignored by Washington.
I thought politicians in Washington, including Congressman Tom Garrett, were too busy catering to special interests who get in the way of solving the problems we face — high unemployment, a lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare, and dwindling resources for public education — and not catering to their constituents.
I was born in Charlottesville, I grew up in Virginia in a middle-class family, and I was able to build a career and a family in Albemarle County. But the bottom line is that kids today don’t have the same shot I did at building a successful life. There are many reasons for this, but big corporate money in our politics is one of those reasons.
When I look at Washington, I’m sick and tired of politicians who take money from corporate PACs and then spend their time looking out for their interests while hanging their constituents out to dry.
That’s why I won’t take a dime from corporate PACs — not just during this campaign, but during my tenure in the United States House of Representatives.
Everyone knows our campaign finance system is broken. Politicians rely on many people to help fund their campaigns — but there is a difference between money from big corporate interests that increase their influence in the halls of Congress, and the contributions of friends, family, and supporters who agree with your platform.
Mr. Garrett has taken over $300,000 from corporate interests throughout his career as a politician — including those that spend unlimited sums of money to influence our elections and rig the system against everyday Americans. It’s time our representatives show leadership on this issue, and make it clear that they stand with constituents, not their big corporate donors.
I hope that Mr. Garrett joins me in swearing off corporate contributions.
Things are too hard for too many here. We have to do better.
People deserve to know that their representative in Washington will only have one thing in mind when they’re voting — that’s the folks back home.
I know I will.