Big money once again reared its ugly head right into the middle of our politics. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are going to be key votes if the Senate is going to pass the $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) reconciliation package. This reconciliation package includes universal pre-k, paid family leave, paid medical family leave, free community college, medicare expansion, and higher taxes on the rich.

These reforms would have huge benefits for poor and middle class families. That makes it even more reprehensible that Sinema would accept over $750K in donations from pharma and medical companies. Manchin is no better. According to the new site “The Intercept,” the Senator has personally made at least $4.5 million since 1980 and currently holds $1-5 million in stock options in fossil fuel companies that have been the site of 21 worker deaths since 2000.

With millions of dollars personally on the line for these senators, it’s really no surprise that these conservative Democrats find themselves in between us and universal pre-k, paid family leave, paid medical family leave, free community college, medicare expansion and higher taxes on the rich.

We need to demand more of our elected leaders and our democracy and finally get big money out of politics. No more $1,000 brunches or $100K speaking engagements. It's time to end big money in politics, which is really just legalized corruption. If we don’t get big money out of politics, Mitch McConnell, Joe Manchin, and Kyrsten Sinema’s donors will continue to control our politics.

Bobby Rollin, Grand Forks