In this Q&A with Hank Mayers, president of Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections, Hank discusses why he supports the 28th Amendment.
Recently, American Promise hosted our first Democracy is Brewing Tour in the beautiful state of Michigan, where we joined citizens at local breweries across the state to discuss the 28th Amendment and effective ways to fight big money in politics. On the tour we met with incredible citizens who are fired up to work on fixing our elections.
Hank Mayers, president of Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections, an American Promise Association in Lansing, helped us set this tour in motion. Hank’s APA currently has a number of big goals, including starting a Rise Up Michigan campaign in January 2019 to get communities across the state to endorse campaign finance reform and the 28th Amendment, and amending the Michigan Constitution with a ballot measure in 2020.
After our Democracy is Brewing tour concluded, we sat down with Hank for a chat about the 28th Amendment and big money in politics. In this Q&A, Hank discusses his concerns about a number of issues stemming from big money in politics.
What issues do you want to solve by getting big money out of politics with an amendment?
The need for ever-greater amounts of money to run for office, or to get re-elected, has literally turned our democracy into a pay-to-play enterprise where special interests drive government policy. The only thing that talks is money—especially big money. Whether it’s granting offshore drilling rights in sensitive marine areas, reducing controls over carbon emissions by coal-burning industries, inability to stop too-big-to-fail bank mergers, allowing fracking to use secret compounds and risk our ground water, etc., big money interests are allowed to pursue goals that are clearly at odds with public sentiment and public health. I want to see our elected representatives serve the long-term public good once again. It has not always been this way.
What excites you most about the future of America where we the people govern?
People will have an impact on governmental policy and programs. People will be more invested in the election process. Our politicians will no longer have to spend large amounts of time dialing for dollars. They will have time to become knowledgeable on the needs of their constituents and will be able to actually legislate for the common good with their colleagues in their respective legislatures.
Where do you live and what do you love most about it?
I’m from Haslett, Michigan, which is in the Lansing area. The air is clean, the people are friendly, it is a great place to raise kids who can learn to value diversity—Michigan State University is a major part of the area—and the proximity of the state capital provides an ongoing, meaningful civics lesson for everyone.