American Promise

American Promise hosted a booth at the Carver County Fair.

The spinner whirled and “Candy” was what it stopped on. But wait, almost all the slots were labeled “Candy”! The wheel was rigged, just like our political system is rigged to allow the big money spenders to influence our candidates and elected officials.

This year’s Carver County Fair was the second county fair where American Promise MN. volunteers had a booth. Our goal is to get big money out of our elections and give Americans back their voice. American Promise is a non-partisan national group, one of many national organizations working state by state from the grassroots up, for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow states and Congress to pass laws regulating the money spent in campaigns.

The campaign finance laws of 24 states were thrown out when the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that spending money was a form of free speech, and corporations and special interests could spend all they wanted to. Since the ruling in 2010, the amount of money spent has gone up with each election cycle. A whopping big $14.4 billion was spent in 2020, more than double the amount spent in 2016.

Another game at the booth was “Campaign $ Corn Hole”, where you could throw stacks of $100 bills into the big hole in the game board. You represented the mega rich campaign donors, the big corporations, special interests, money from out of state donors, Super PAC dollars, and all the 501c4s and LLCs which let you hide your identity. There was a tiny hole in the board for regular Americans' donations.

Pledges of support were signed by 167 fairgoers. Fifty-one percent of the signers self-identified as Republicans, conservatives or Libertarians. Twenty-one percent identified as Democrats, liberals or progressives, and 17% were independents.

American Promise will use these pledges as evidence that there is citizen support for getting big money out of our elections. We will continue to go to local city councils, the county boards and the Minnesota Legislature and ask them to pass resolutions of support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Twenty-two states have indicated that they are ready to ratify. Sadly, Minnesota is not yet one of them!

You can contact your legislators and ask them to author or cosponsor the bills as they come up in the Minnesota House and Senate. Easiest of all, help us grow the numbers of supporters by going to the website and signing the same pledge that was at the Carver County Fair. Your name will not be sold, but will show legislators and Congress how much support there is among Americans for an amendment that would allow states and Congress the ability to write laws to help get the big money spending under control and give us back the power of our votes.

One more note — our drawing for a U.S. flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital was won by a young family from Glencoe. Brian Malady and his wife Julie are both teachers. Congratulations to them!

Sally Johnson


Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.