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LETTER: Overturn Citizens United

The following is a letter to the editor from a Waltham resident.

The following is a letter to the editor from a Waltham resident.

From Massachusetts to California, and Oregon to Ohio, citizens throughout the country voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 6 for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and declare that only human beings – not corporations – are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.

Here in Massachusetts, voters in 120 towns (about 1/3 the population of the state) voted on the non-binding resolution that instructed their state senator or state representative to support a constitutional amendment affirming that 1) corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings and 2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and political spending. Labeled as Question 4 here in Waltham, it passed 5,291 Yes votes to 1,670 No votes, or 76 percent Across the state it passed by a combined measure of 79 percent.

Local groups working with Move to Amend gathered the signatures needed to place the resolutions on the ballots here in Massachusetts. Move to Amend is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and nearly 250,000 people. The organization also boasts over 150 local affiliates across the country.

Move to Amend's position is that the Constitutional amendment must go beyond simply overturning Citizens United. "There is no reason for us to shy away from a true and lasting solution, rather than just band-aids," stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a member of the Move to Amend National Leadership Team. "In every single community where Americans have had the opportunity to call for a Constitutional amendment to outlaw corporate personhood, they have seized it and voted yes overwhelmingly. Tuesday's results show that the Movement to Amend has nearly universal approval."

“It is common sense to most people that corporations are powerful artificial entities that are not entitled to the constitutional protections granted to individual citizens in the Bill of Rights,” said Lee Ketelsen, of Acton. “We are building a grassroots citizens movement ” continued Ketelsen, “to win a constitutional amendment that restores a government of, by and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporations.”

Daniel Melnechuk, Waltham

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