Our guest speaker via Skype will be Jason Olson, who is the director of Independent Voice, http://independentvoice.org
. He will discuss how the movement was born in California and how it was successful at passing non-partisan primaries, top two voting and non-partisan re-districting. I have had a number of requests to have someone explain what a movement on the ground here in NM might look like and he has been a central figure in CA success. Please RSVP to me so we have an idea who is coming, but please come anyway if your plans change at the last minute and you are free.
We will have a discussion about our mission and goals, which in draft form look like this:
Mission: To make sure that every vote counts by getting at the root cause of our political dysfunction.
1) End state subsidization of parties including using public money for primary elections that are not open to all; people should not have to join a party to vote.
2) Ensure that independents have equal ballot access as candidates; end discriminatory practices.
3) Adopt non-partisan redistricting so that voters can decide for whom to vote before the incumbents get to decide who can vote for them.
4) Start a public education campaign focused on “making every vote count” so that people think about all elections as a fundamental state function that can’t exclude anyone.
5) Start a lobbying campaign directed at all elected officials and other interest groups to endorse platform.
6) Draft a constitutional amendment for introduction in the 2016 legislative session that will ensure all voters can vote in all elections; no specific solutions, rather civil rights guarantees.
I was on a guest panel at Conspiracy Brews, which is a right leaning organization that Janice Arnold co-founded and the topic on June 13 was party platforms, the relevance of parties, open primaries, etc. Eddy Aragon, who owns a number of radio stations in town said in front of the 50 or so people there, “what Bob just described transformed the room”. I got lots of very position feedback (and some negative). It was very gratifying for my first public presentation as an advocate for NMOP.
I have been invited to speak to the Albuquerque Foreign Relations Committee on June 29 which should be quite interesting. I will be speaking on “The Role of Partisanship in U.S. Foreign Policy”. There has been a bit written over the years on this topic, but I am formulating some new thoughts combining my experience as a U.S. Diplomat with all that NMOP stands for. They expect 50 or so attendees at the Tanoan Country Club.
Thanks to George Richmond for writing a check to NMOP and for getting me scheduled to talk in front of the League of Women Voters on September 2. If you are a member of a group, please invite me to speak!
I had a great meeting with the folks at the Thornburg Foundation who might be in a position to fund our efforts. The Foundation is already supporting groups like Common Cause and have 5 full-time people working on good government initiatives. They are very interested in open primaries, non-partisan re-districting and other critical electoral reform measures that we are interested in. I will be working on a complete business plan and budget with the help of some of our national supporters at Open Primaries and IndependentVoting.org
. It would be very exciting to have the financial resources to pull together a full time team to move this important agenda forward. They only work through registered 501(c)3 organizations, hence the push to get some funding to file the paperwork soon.
I hope to see you at the meeting on June 21. Call me at 505-259-2377
with questions or e-mail me.