What does being a "Centrist" mean to you, and why did you get involved?
I've always described myself as a "moderate". I believe in finding balance. Our two-party system has resulted in politicians being forced to put party affiliation above citizenship. Giving credit to someone from the opposing party for a good idea invariably results in being ostracized by your own party. Taxpayers carry the enormous burden of financing a bureaucracy that can never achieve consensus on critical issues.
What is a policy issue you are passionate about and why?
I could easily identify disability matters, healthcare, or nonprofit issues as my most passionate issues. I've run a nonprofit serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. My real passion is in breaking the gridlock of our two-party system. When we fix that we will be able to focus on real solutions to the other issues.
How do you think we can unite our country and fix our politics?
We must work at the grassroots level to build a third party. Past efforts to create a third party have not worked because either a party was formed to focus on a narrow political philosophy or to elect a single national candidate. I believe we must build a diverse party that welcomes smart people committed to studying issues before voting their consciences with no fear of party recrimination. There are good young people who are getting involved in local politics. These are our future senators and congressmen. If we don't have a presence at the local level they will start their political careers with one of the existing parties and are unlikely to change to a Centrist party when they reach the national level. We need to get them on board early and help build their careers around centrist ideals.
Anything else you'd like to add?
If our goal is to create the largest and most powerful political party, we will fail. If we really want to make a difference, we should seek to become the fulcrum that brings balance to our government. If we are just large enough to prevent either party from having a majority, the right and the left will have to come closer to the middle to pass legislation. Rather than form a platform to which our candidates must comply, we should offer potential candidates training and resources to assist them in getting beyond the lobbyists and media soundbites to find answers and form their own opinions.