• Reilly Neill

Raising Awareness Not Campaign Funds

We need to get big money out of politics. When candidates are judged on their ability to raise money and not on the content of their platform, we end up with individuals in leadership who are able to sway voters with organizing dollars rather than solid plans for the future.

In my race for Montana Governor, I do need to raise funds to travel the state and talk to voters but I don’t need $1 million.

The moneyed primary is an outdated system. The cost to file for high office is significant in itself but the cost of running a campaign is so prohibitive in most cases that citizens outside of career politicians and wealthy businesspeople have little chance of participating in the process.

The media and party system see the ability to rally dollars as equal to rallying voters. Corporate donors and the wealthy often determine who will be elevated in the parties and the media and as a result, many voters are left out of this process when they have little to give.

I’m trying to run a zero-waste campaign and this includes cutting the great waste of money in our elections. We don’t need to create more waste destined for our landfills, more waste in our in-boxes, more ad dollars poured down a black hole.

Instead, my campaign yard signs will be made of compostable plastic and paid for by contributions earmarked for the expense. I’ve already raised money to sponsor and present fund raisers for worthwhile charities and non-profits. A $50 donation to one of these charities can make a difference far and beyond the same investment in a political campaign. I urge voters to support issues rather than candidates and be counted by their votes and not their contributions.

As the other candidates scramble for dollars ahead of a filing deadline to make a showing in the moneyed primaries, I will redouble my efforts at voter outreach: immersing myself in important issues and knocking on doors many candidates have skipped for over a decade.

If you would like to contribute to my campaign, I ask you to consider that same donation instead to an organization supporting the important issues I support: tackling the impacts of climate change, protecting a woman’s right to privacy with her doctor, and equal access to healthcare for all.

The following are some of the organizations that I am currently fund raising for and I welcome suggestions of further organizations who could use financial help in elevating issues and doing good work: Sunrise Climate Movement, Planned Parenthood of Montana, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Montana, or a local heath care cooperative, food pantry or women’s shelter in your community.

By giving back to the organizations in our communities who are working daily to address issues of importance to voters, we can equalize the field. No matter how much money is wasted this election season, we can make a choice to put those dollars instead to good use supporting the important work being done across the state in non-profit organizations.

Instead of soliciting funds on the eve of another campaign filing deadline, I'm headed out to talk to more folks in the coffee shops, taverns and neighborhoods of Montana to hear their concerns and inform their discretion about climate change and human rights. Won't you join me?

A great donation to my campaign is one of time. We can always use volunteers willing to knock doors or make calls. Reach out to to join the effort.

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