Saturday, July 26, 2008
You’ve probably seen the Sean Tevis XKCD-style campaign comic. It’s a pretty fucking charming way for a politician to make their pitch, I must admit. (Tevis is running for Kansas House of Representatives District 15 — representing parts of Olathe, a Kansas City suburb, and some surrounding turf.) He seems like a great, smart guy and it’s sort of amazing to see what happens when an information architect — a web nerd (with a blog) — runs for office.
And while the outporing of internet love is great, people donating money to his campaign who do not live in his district are acting irresponsibly. He has apparently received donations from almost 6,000 people (~$50k). I bet almost none of those come from people who live in KS HR District 15. I’m not going to link to anyone specifically because I don’t want to be a jack-ass, but plenty of people who clearly do not live in Kansas have announced on their blogs or Twitter that they’ve given money. I don’t think this is right.
Everyone in the United States deserves proper representation in their state and national governing bodies. Sean Tevis is not running for representative of the Internet — he’s running for representative of Olathe, Kansas. I worry that by making him beholden to a vast network of contributors who live in California, New York, Texas, etc. that we are actually somewhat disenfranchising voters from that area. If you do not live in Olathe, you are not his constituent. If Olathe is conservative and would prefer to elect a conservative to represent them, well I certainly don’t personal agree with the politics. But that’s their decision. I have my own state and national representatives it’s their job to make my voice heard. Not Sean Tevis’. No matter how charming he may be.
I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My representative in the US House is Democrat Nydia Velázquez. She’s apparently quite a well-respected businesswoman — she chairs the House Small Business Committee and sits on the Financial Services Committee. My rep in the NY state Assembly is Joseph R. Lentol. And in the NY Senate, Martin Malavé Dilan. None of these people have cute web-meme-friendly comics on their sites, but I think the best way to use this excitement about Sean Tevis is not to give money to Sean Tevis — it’s to get excited about your local politics and learn a bit about what’s going on with the people who represent you. You’re paying them, after all…
End of rant.
July 27th Update: Sean Tevis responded in the comments (cool!) and I’ve somewhat revised my thoughts on the matter.
I'm Josh Knowles, a technology developer/consultant on a variety of mobile, social media, and gaming projects. I founded and lead Frescher-Southern, Ltd. I grew up in Austin, Texas and currently live in New York City.
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