I am voluntarily capping contributions from any individual or organization to my campaign at $250, but many have asked why this amount.
The answer is this. It is clear the major flaw in our political system is it allows those with the most money to buy the most influence with our elected representatives, preventing us from having a true democracy. This legalized bribery keeps our representatives from doing their job - representing the people. Is it any surprise that our country has such high rates of voter apathy given this situation? People aren't stupid - they know that those with the most money to donate to our representatives have the most say in our current system.
I am capping donations at $250 in my race for Assembly District 4 because this amount is large enough to allow me to run an effective campaign and to let people express their views with their pocketbook; at the same time, this amount is small enough that my judgment and duty to the people of District 4 would never be compromised if I am fortunate enough to serve.
It comes down to this: in the Assembly I could be faced with the choice of voting for Option A or Option B on a given issue. Option A might be best for District 4, while Option B might be what one of my donors wants me to vote for. If my donor is contributing $10,000 to my campaign, which could be 10% of the total I need to raise each election, my judgment is going to be negatively impacted no matter how hard I try to remain independent. That's just human nature. And anyone that argues money doesn't have the same impact on people's decision-making process in politics that it has in every other aspect of life is arguing in the face of reality. In the above scenario, I feel a cap of $250 would let me maintain my independent judgment to act in the best interests of District 4. It is easy to do without or to replace a $250 donation.
Long-term, my hope is to get the Democratic Party to break its addiction to Big Money so that it can actually enact an agenda that will fight the economic and social inequality in our society. I think an effective way to do this is for candidates across the country to run "practice what you preach" campaigns where they commit to refusing Big Money so they can truly represent their constituents.
So, the TL;DR to "Why $250" is because I want to be able to maintain my independent judgment if I am elected to represent the people of Assembly District 4, because I want to show other candidates it's possible to win without participating in a corrupt game, and to maintain my personal dignity by knowing I will not be bought and sold. We can have an honest political system if we vote for candidates that will show through their actions they will represent the people and not Big Money donors.