Maine is facing a flood of political spending in its upcoming U.S. Senate election, with the vast majority of dollars pouring in from out of state. In this sea of money, Mainers struggle to have their voices heard or their needs met by elected officials or candidates for office. In a recent op-ed, business owner Pete Dufour, says the senatorial debate coming up on Sept. 11 is the perfect platform for the candidates to say they stand with Maine, not out-of-state big donors.

In his op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, Pete Dufour, owner of Dufour Tax Group LLC in Portland, writes shares why Mainers, including small business owners, are coming together to Stand with Maine: “[I]f leaders from both major parties don’t come together to fix the system of big money in our elections, small businesses and hardworking Mainers lose every time,” he writes. “We can’t afford to play the game that our elections have become. We can’t be heard over the misleading, unaccountable attack campaigns paid for by millions of dollars from wealthy donors, big business and big unions that expect to use that influence to get what they need, no matter who wins.”

Pete says this unchecked spending isn’t only bad for political representation, it’s bad for the economy as well.

“When the government is allowed to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, we end up with an economy shaped by political clout rather than the quality of products and services,” he writes.

Dufour and other volunteers with the Stand with Maine campaign are calling on the U.S. Senate candidates in their state to tell voters which side of this issue they are on during the debate this week.

“On Sept. 11, our Senate candidates take the debate stage,” Pete writes. “Now is the time to show their support of Maine and our small business owners by letting us know that they, too, stand with Maine in support of a constitutional amendment to end the domination of money in politics and empower the voices of all Maine voters and business owners in our state.”

Read the full op-ed here.