See below for JUFJ’s testimony in support of the Baltimore County Fair Election Fund, Bill 102-21, written by Alan Katz.
TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF BALTIMORE COUNTY BILL 102-21
County Code – The Baltimore County Fair Election Fund
My name is Alan Katz, and I am a Baltimore County resident in District 4. I am submitting this testimony in support of Bill 102-21, the Baltimore County Fair Election Fund, on behalf of Jews United for Justice (JUFJ). JUFJ organizes more than 2,000 people in the Baltimore region to support local social, racial, and economic justice issues. Thank you to County Executive Olszewski and my council member, Council Chairman Jones, for introducing this important legislation.
Our country finds itself in a time when many of our citizens do not hold the government in high regard and part of this is caused by the feeling some people have that their representatives do not listen to them. By creating an option for more people of modest means to participate in our election process as both candidates and donors we will see more of them do so. This will in turn strengthen the voice of county residents, rather than wealthy donors and corporations, and develop greater trust and confidence in government.
Our Torah teaches justice for all. Our sages interpreted this teaching as meaning that those holding official positions must turn a blind eye to the social or economic standing of those who come before them. This piece of legislation creates the opportunity for equitable decision-making in our community, by providing public funding for candidates in County offices who participate in the Fair Election program. This will encourage candidates to ask constituents for small contributions, which will encourage more residents to participate in our elections and to support their chosen candidates. It will also encourage future candidates to be more responsive to all of their donors instead of just the large givers. Government should not be seen as the exclusive playground of the wealthy or well connected. All our residents should consider themselves as players, and the Fair Election Fund will allow them to do so.
On behalf of Jews United for Justice, I respectfully urge this Council to implement and fully fund the Fair Election Fund for Baltimore County, by passing Bill 102-21.