Improving Our Political System

James D. Matheson
Jim Matheson spoke at Tuesday's forum. He encouraged students to inform themselves on issues of public policy so they can participate in civic engagement. (Natalie Bothwell)

“…You know when the Citizens United ruling happened everyone says ‘oh my gosh, it’s going to be the labour unions and corporations who are going to dominate the funding of these things’. That’s not how it’s turned out, it turns out its a group of billionaires. In fact, in this current presidential cycle there’s been a lot of money already coming to Super PACs, and the New York Times just reported in the last couple of weeks that more than half of all the Super PAC money has come from just 158 families in our country. We’re a country of 300 million people and we’ve got 158 families dominating what’s going to happen in our politics, and I think it encourages a very polarised idealogical point of view, because candidates don’t have to go out and raise money from a broad group of people like voters, now they just find a billionaire or two who’ll support them, and I don’t think that’s helpful in terms of creating a moderate and balanced way to govern.”

“…it comes back to this first cause of this gridlock that I talked about, the lack of engagement by what I call the radical centre of our country.

“We need more engagement. And, by the way, I’m not sitting here telling you this is going to be easy to make happen. But we need more engagement, and right here in the state of Utah it’s an interesting situation. We have the best volunteerism rate in America. But did you know our voting rate in the general election is the worst? …But it’s not about just voting in the general election. As we discussed the table gets set during the nominating process. We need everyone to engage back when we’re nominating the candidates in the first place; that’s where we need more engagement. And how does this start? It really starts at home…”

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Original Source

James D. Matheson
United States Representative from Utah from 2001 to 2015
James D. Matheson, Devotional Address given at Brigham Young University, November 2015
Accessed 6/1/2016