I’m a 38 year-old native Virginian now living most often in Palo Alto, California where I continue my interest in developing businesses using science and other technologies that can help us prosper.
I also earn a living hosting others visiting, studying, or new to work in Silicon Valley. It’s a favorite occupation as I meet a variety of very enthusiastic people from all types of places. In addition, I host people living weeks or months of a time in a house I own in St Paul, Minnesota. I thank all these guests as they help fund my travel for this campaign. The internet makes sharing what I learn very cheap, so I hope you’ll like this version of a much thriftier political campaign. I’m not seeking any donations and I hope the extreme stance will remind you that politicians shouldn’t be first judged by how much money they have raised. That’s the measure we hear as the first assessment of any national politician these days.
Consider these three points I hope my time as a politician emphasizes:
1.) communities shape individual values, but self-governed communities promote individual voices
2.) money is medium of exchange – because it is so flexible it shouldn’t be the main medium of exchange in politics or in promoting welfare by our governments
3.) if I can do this, you can do this leadership thing. The content on this blog is published immediately. In part, so that I don’t have to remember where I put my drafts, but also to show anyone interested that I’m just another citizen honing my ideas by making them public. If more citizens do this we’ll have a lot to work with for a bright future.
Since July 2011, I have spent significant time on the roads in many states exploring both my opportunity to serve and our citizens’ opinions about what can make a difference.
Along the way I snapped photos with my phone and compiled favorite examples of the rich variety of businesses in our country at apoliti.co. I named it that for two reasons. First, the tussle over the debt ceiling was in the news at the time and I wanted to remind people that a strong private sector, not the politicians, will lead us back to prosperity. That project inspired me to go further with this formal campaign to get what has become known as ‘politics’, the dirty word, out of the way so that each citizen can again believe their participation matters. That way, I hope we can all focus on the most constructive plans for prosperity. Second, I hope to appeal to the vast portion of our population who are disinterested or feel powerless in the current system. I meet these people everyday and hope they will back me to revise it to better serve them. Less than 60% of eligible citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election despite the momentum for change Obama earned at the time.
This year is our chance to dramatically overhaul our governing bodies to make a better model for self-governance. To do that we’ll need to also maximize personal liberty, personal responsibility, and local community strength again. Those are about the only retro notions you’ll see in this campaign.
In support of strong local communities I believe that the city, county, and tribal layers of government, especially as the internet drives better citizen engagement with our governments, should respond the most to help our neighborhoods meet their needs. Therefore, I think most of the detailed government administration and tax revenues should begin at the bottom layer closest to the people served. This will be the most difficult transition to make in revising our government structure as the career politicians in Washington and the lobbyists that power their moves will be very uninterested in giving up the power of the purse they now have. Most of the power plays politicians struggle over are about the distribution of money we pay to the top layer. If we simply pay most of our individual tax burden to the local layers, those local layers can then subscribe to the services the umbrella layers of state and federal governments provide. In that way, all governments will have direct customers to serve.
Today we pay most tax to the top and earmark it back down to states who then control much of the purse the localities depend on. Not only are the local governments more threatened by recessions in this structure, but there are also many more opportunities for influence peddling in a system like that.
When select regions of our country had dramatically more opportunity for success than most other regions, a top-to-down revenue sharing approach was appropriate. It isn’t any longer. Now, that it isn’t we should move forward to decrease our reliance on the federal income tax or at least give beneficiary choice to a portion of those taxes. I’ve given citizens the option in my Society Tax plan to vote with their tax dollars to benefit the public servants they see most positively impacting their lives. The plan creates a market for the public service funds which will make provision of collective benefits a competitive process. I expect the plan can go far to maximize honesty and efficiency in all layers of government administration.
Of course, a strong, independent press and active citizen engagement will be required to keep local cronies from wasting funds and abusing power in a model giving more of the purse to local layers, but increased local accountability will follow and can create even more efficiency as long as we’re hungry to care as citizens, the leaders are transparent, and each local press helps us focus our attention on the opportunities and problems as they develop.
I’m also in favor of drawing congressional districts to more simply align our distinct urban, suburban, and rural voters. These are the three labels that matter most when grouping citizens who should elect a representative together. It will also help align the rural voice in their congressional representation.
I also encourage states to more directly cooperate with their neighboring states to plan the long term health of their shared regional economies. I would like the federal government to limit its role to that of security and protection.
I have a variety of employment and volunteer experience that qualify me to best empathize with the diverse viewpoints in our nation. Ultimately, that is why I am best qualified to earn your 2012 vote.
My only federal government experience to this point was a summer in 2006 working as a backcountry ranger in Olympic National Park. However, I have also worked in three different state public higher education systems and in a local government planning and development office.
Most recently, as a strong believer in the innovation a more nimble private sector allows, I have been retooling my business development skills to fit the needs of new companies in Silicon Valley. I have invested in three very early stage companies here and I have worked directly with founders of several early projects to improve market knowledge and planning, product and service development, early customer experience, and the revenue models of their companies. The day-to-day value I bring to teams include customer relations, service and product feedback, early web community building, social media and web copywriting. My experience focusing on customer experience is the second thing that qualifies me better than others to be your President. I will be the most interested in putting the citizens first.
In the distant past I successfully completed the curriculum at the University of Minnesota Medical School. This experience included all the clinical rotations in a variety of care facilities and hospitals. This experience was important to ideas you’ll read on this site regarding community health and fitness. That experience also highly motivates me to revise insurance coverage to match the missions of healthcare organizations. They will better thrive and communities will be healthier and we will all save money. The system is so broke that I have not participated as a customer since leaving medical school. Currently, I rely on diet and fitness discipline, but I know a time will come when I will want to be a part of a community healthcare pool again. My past dissatisfaction and future concern for community health motivates me to make the business models in healthcare make sense. This also is a distinguishing qualification for leading our country.
I witnessed all types of healthcare customers and experienced the joys and the pains practitioners in this nobel profession deal with everyday.
Currently, conventional healthcare is a rough setting with incredible inefficiencies and unfair, uncontrollable circumstances for practitioners and patients alike. I hope you will seriously consider my idea for shifting the insurance burden away from the individual patient toward the organizations providing for the public’s health. Healthcare will be a much better experience for future patients and the caring practitioners alike when the insurance companies are focused on the fitness of the healthcare organization and not so involved in the individual decisions doctors make with patients.
While applying to medical school in 1999 and 2000 I worked both as a radio announcer for my hometown’s A.M. radio station and as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a care center for older and disabled adults. These experiences helped me further earn communication skills and the empathy to listen to the direction and pulse of our citizens and communities.
Can you bear more job experience? Most every job has given me insight that shapes my policy opinions today:
As a Retirement Benefits Administrator in the corporate office of a large insurance holding company, I worked with pension and 401k law and policy on a daily basis and, again, talked directly to customers – this time it was those employees of our company who had served several years and were eligible for their 401k and pension benefits. During that year, I also passed a ten course, self-directed education program for the insurance field called the FLMI. The exams were not hard to pass, but I remember the texts I plowed through as one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. Understanding how insurance companies help us mitigate our life risks is a very under-appreciated goal. The experience also taught me the power of self-pace learning. My employer offered a small bonus to each of the ten courses and I knocked them down in a matter of months.
Prior to that I worked in the local government planning and business development office I mentioned. This early experience causes me to study with close attention, even today, to the ways our towns and cities run their operations as they encourage, with little control over their budgets, a productive and happy camaraderie among the locale’s neighbors.
I think all great leaders save some energy to offer their services freely. Volunteering might be the experience that most inspired my tax plan. Besides better local government funding, I hope charities and private public service groups can also have more reliable access to funds if they maintain high quality operations and endeavors. A few favorite organizations I remember significant volunteer experiences with include:
East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring
Multiple Sclerosis Society (logistics team for bike fundraising)
National Park Service
Left Foot Organics (Farm employing those with Neuro impediments to traditional settings. Sow, weed, harvest, compost, and sale)
Recording for the Dyslexic and Blind (read books onto tape)
University of Virginia Children’s Hospital Library
Kluge Rehabilitation Therapeutic Horse Riding Program for disabled teens