Hansen for State Representative
Vermont State Representative District Washington-1 in VT http://vermontelection.org/
19 Black Road
Primary Election Date: 2014-08-26 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
Born in Wisconsin, I earned my Master’s and Doctorate degrees while holding full-time positions in the field of information technology. I moved to Vermont after receiving my PhD to accept a position at Norwich University. I teach a variety of topics in computer science and information security, and conduct research on privacy in social networks, security of medical systems, and social choice theory.
I serve on the Berlin Selectboard, the Berlin Economic Development Committee, the Board of Directors of the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department, and the Faculty Senate at Norwich University.
I live with my wife and two young children in Berlin.
Why am I running?
My primary goal is to reduce the influence of money in the democratic process. People have an expectation that their representatives in government will represent them, and take their interests to heart. When special interests contribute to a political campaign, there’s an expectation that the politician will return the favor. I have pledged not to accept any campaign contributions from corporations or from groups that accept corporate contributions, and I ask all candidates in Berlin and Northfield to take the same pledge.
He said, “One of the most important steps a representative can take is to seek feedback and act accordingly. During my time on the Selectboard, I have made it a point to take on a little more work and provide my constituents with information about what is happening in the Town. They respond by telling me what concerns them, and I take those concerns back to the rest of the board. This two-way communication is crucial.”
1) Vermont should ban corporate campaign contributions, as the Federal government does! We were the first state to ask for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United, and legislation to ban corporate contributions has floated around for the past few sessions. I hope to put some more steam behind those efforts!
2) We are behind in technical education and jobs in the state. I propose a three-part approach:
a) Ensure that Vermont’s children have an opportunity to learn useful skills in trades and technology from pre-Kindergarten through high school.
b) Train and retain information technology professionals that work for the State. When new projects arrive, allow the state employees to own the project instead of taking on expensive consultants from outside Vermont.
c) Better fund the Vermont State College system, with an eye towards building professional and vocational skills of workers who will remain in-state.
3) Ensure that the single-payer healthcare system signed into law actually provides universal coverage for all Vermonters and at a cost savings.
My DFA Values
I believe particularly strongly in the shared value of community, and I think one straightforward way to improve community is to strengthen the democratic process by engaging and involving more folks in the decisions that affect them. Often, elected officials make decisions based upon what they *think* their constituents want - I aim to be more methodical about it, and offer resources so that citizens have the opportunity to both receive timely and useful updates on what's happening in government and communicate their thoughts and opinions in a clear way to their representatives. I have done this to a certain extent on the Berlin Selectboard, and have worked with other computer scientists to pilot Considerit (http://consider.it), which lets people deliberate on an issue online without thoughts getting lost in forum posts.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I have already networked with like-minded folks throughout Washington County, and have been in the State House testifying on issues important to me throughout the last session. In particular, I have made friends while supporting the GMO labeling bill and attempting to improve the auditing components of an elections bill.
Though it wasn't hugely successful (we raised about $200), I organized a fundraiser here in Northfield for Spectrum Youth and Family Services, who provide services to homeless and at-risk teens and young adults, in parallel with Spectrum's fundraiser in Burlington.
While serving on the Selectboard, I communicate extensively with my constituents via email, phone, and with at least weekly postings on Front Porch Forum, a community email list. I have recently started meeting with Berlin residents early on Friday mornings at a local diner to get their feedback outside of the formal Selectboard meetings.
I expect to continue to meet with and communicate extensively with constituents if I'm elected. I also hope to continue developing my network of progressively-minded folks in the area.