Independent Tiffany Bond was the sole candidate in the 2nd Congressional District race to appear at a debate in late September Credit: Jennifer Rooks / Maine Public

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Tiffany Bond is an independent candidate for Maine 2nd Congressional District.

Running for federal office is quite an experience, and I seem to be running against a couple of gentlemen who spend a lot of energy and money pretending to be … well, me.

Both Bruce Poliquin and Jared Golden, and their backers, spend gobs of money marketing themselves as the true independent; trying to make the other look radical. I’m an actual independent.

Both yell, interrupt, and bicker in an attempt to convince you that they are the true moderate. I see moderate as a process — take the time and resources (in money and man hours) available, and craft a solution that fits. This is my definition of a moderate approach to solving problems. It’s not “centrist,” or “meet in the middle,” or “compromise to an ineffective stalemate.” It’s solutions oriented with accountability and milestones built in.

Both try to sell you on their fiscal prudence. I’m a penny pincher to my core.

Both are spending phenomenal energy on what an everyman they are. I’m an attorney, a mediator, a small business owner, and a mom who doesn’t have time to bother being anything other than myself – I’ve got stuff to get done!

In all of my interactions, no one questions that I am qualified, competent, reasonable, and perhaps a touch boring; more than the gentlemen in each category. My views and positions are widely agreed with across the spectrum of beliefs, with supporters from incredibly conservative to very liberal. We all have the same problems, just different journeys to a solution – none of that changes, no matter how much a political party wants to mislead you about what problems really are, and whether or not they can be fixed by their party alone.

Our federal government has three main purposes: To make wise and judicious decisions with our shared resources; to solve problems that are too large for us to solve as individuals or small groups; and to protect our basic human rights.

Our festering problem is that few in Congress appear to seeking solutions that fit what we have available, and our problems are getting pushed beyond our time and resources to handle them. We continue to settle for marginally better to stuck in the mud while an avalanche of pain from delayed solutions is lying in wait for us.

It turns out that pain, hate, and fear are quite profitable; all excellent to extract fundraising contributions from you. If we blame those least capable of creating solutions for all the problems, then we can supercharge fundraising (and Congress doesn’t need to take a drop of responsibility for its problem-solving failures). If every election is an existential threat, then you won’t turn away and consider other options.

I am asked often why I am running for Congress. The answer is: we’re broken. I’m the “long shot” in the race because I’m not independently wealthy, and unwilling to demand the last few dollars from your grocery budget to fundraise millions, and therefore won’t win. The papers and commentators tell us that. They presume you didn’t watch the only debate the gentlemen would show up for to compare us. I challenge you to find a single issue you feel I am unreasonable on. Look me up. Send me an email. Search my social media posts. Contrast me with gentlemen that demand your hard-earned money so that they can set it on fire with commercials and flyers that don’t solve the problems that they could solve with the money they and their supporters spent on ads.

If we are in a system where the best person for the job can’t win because she asks people to invest in the community instead of fill her campaign coffers, do we have a democracy?

We don’t have to keep doing this anymore. You would likely be happier, safer, and worry less with me in Congress. Ranking me as #1 on the ballot for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District means we start taking away the power that money has in our elections. If a qualified, competent, reasonable (and boring) person can win spending less than $5,000, then the money no longer matters. Let’s show them we aren’t for sale and won’t be for sale again.

You probably have a preference between Golden and Poliquin; make sure to rank a No. 2, or you might get the other guy.