One of the core problems afflicting our democracy is the influence of money in politics. We as Americans have the capacity to bring this intrinsically unethical practice to an end.

As a mother and educator, I have the privilege to discuss principles of democracy, fairness, equality and empowerment with young people. These principles should not be reducible to which rich person, corporation, or special interest can spend the most money and therefore have the loudest, most influential voice, which clearly appears to be the current trend.

Last I checked, we organized a government of the people, by the people, and for the people — not a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Do nations exist for the benefit of a wealthy few, or for all who dwell there?

I want to be able to look young people in the eye and say: Your elders have not abandoned you to a life of economic struggle, difficulty accessing health care, and destruction of our land, air, and water. Sound, equitable policies matter. Integrity matters.

In this representative democracy, we, the voting citizens, must seek out politicians who are motivated by the spirit of service to their constituents and are unswayed by the practice of answering only to major donors. Such representatives make their commitment plain by refusing to accept large donations or money from special interests.

For this reason among many, I support the candidacy of John Rocco Calabrese for the 29th District Assembly seat and urge my fellow residents of the district to support him as well.

JENNIFER HARTLEY, Menomonie

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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