Overturn the Citizens United ruling

To the Editor:

In recent weeks, numerous residents from all six Island towns have been working on an initiative to bring to our town meetings. This initiativesupports a Massachusetts resolution, S.00772, co-sponsored by Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Tim Madden, who are working hard to see it passed. It calls on the Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

This Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United has been responsible for the surge of SuperPAC money funneled into political campaigns by largecorporations for the last two years.This unheralded corporate spending far outweighs spending that ordinary citizens can devote to their choice of candidates. Thus, the outcome of elections is greatly influenced in favor of candidates aligned with, and accountable to, specific corporations and their special interest groups, candidates who serve the interests of these powerful corporations, instead of the interests of the people.

A majority of Americans are now feeling that our democracy is being undermined by corporate spending and SuperPACs, which are determining the outcome of elections through their buying power. Growing numbers of citizens now believe that corporations are exerting increasingly uncontrolled influence at all levels of government. A recent poll by Hart Research found that 85 percent of Americans feel this way. As of mid-March, 25 states have reported some activity against the Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United. Close to 15 bills have been introduced in the Congress proposing amendments to overturn this damaging ruling. It is our hope that bill S.00772 will be one of these.

We would like to remind people that their vote on resolutions set to be introduced at the upcoming town meetings will allow them to express their support of S. 00772. This would be a way to thank Dan Wolf and Tim Madden for their efforts on our behalf. A yes vote on thisresolution would enable us to be part of the rapidly growing grassroots move to level the playing field in our elections and to ensure that our government serves the interests of its citizens and not those of corporations. It would send a clear message to Congress that we wantthis fixed.

We urge your attendance at your town meeting. We urge you to make your voice heard with the hope that the towns on the Vineyard will join a growing list of towns and municipalities across the Commonwealth and across the nation in similar votes to demand an end to undue corporate influence in government and the restoration of our democracy.

Thank you for your time in reading this. By exercising our rights as citizens, we will keep them.

Zelda Gamson, Chilmark; Ann Rosenkranz, West Tisbury; Sarah Nevin, Edgartown; Chris Fried, Tisbury; Richard Toole, Oak Bluffs; Michael West, Tisbury