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Your Opinion: Chamber’s shameless opposition to Amendment 1

Your Opinion: Chamber’s shameless opposition to Amendment 1

November 2nd, 2018 in Opinion

Jenny Smith

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Dan Mehan’s letter in last Friday’s paper opposing the Clean Missouri Amendment 1 was shamelessly heavy in special interest rhetoric. He is representing the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, a lobby group with a well-defined agenda. Of course, the COC opposes Amendment 1! Yet, he wants you to believe it is the proponents of this measure that have a hidden and scurrilous agenda.

Yes, we have an agenda. It is neither scurrilous or hidden. We want accountability, fairness and transparency, to guide our politics. We want our elected leaders to be accountable to voters, not lobbyists, special interests and rich campaign donors. We don’t want politicians to use their office as a stepping stone to lucrative private sector lobby jobs. We want public meetings open to public scrutiny.

Mehan’s biggest gripe was the redistricting measure, which is only one part of Amendment 1. A non-partisan, professional demographer would be assigned by the senate majority and minority leaders to remap the state into “contiguous and compact” districts to achieve “fairness and competitiveness.” Considering the partisan composition they would get as close to 50 percent “as is practical.” There is not a “50-50 mandate” as Mehan falsely states.

Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) is one of the “Republicans for Amendment 1” coalition. He said the following in a recent opinion piece, “Under the current system in Missouri, district lines are drawn by party insiders to provide safe districts for politicians. The result? Over 90 percent of races have not been competitive….. Since nearly all legislators are in safe seats, they win and attain leadership positions by keeping the party leaders and major donors happy while ignoring most of the voters of their districts…. That’s not how our republic was designed to work….The framers envisioned that our representatives would be dependent on the people alone. How are we supposed to live up to that vision when district lines are drawn to prevent accountability? While political extremists and party insiders benefit from this system, honest Missourians and taxpayers pay the price…. When big money is given a seat at the table, the voices of Missourians back home are drowned out. Without an honest choice to remove unresponsive politicians, voters lose.”

The Clean Missouri Petition drive was organized by Missouri Faith Voices, a non-partisan organization seeking to give a voice back to the voters.

Vote “yes” on Amendment 1 to clean up Missouri.