FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2012
On Thursday, May 31st, Jeremy Hansen of Montpelier, Vermont, will announce that he will seek a seat representing Washington County as an independent in Vermont’s State Senate. He will make the announcement in Montpelier, Vermont at Kellogg-Hubbard Library’s (135 Main Street) Hayes Room at 10:30 AM.
Hansen, an assistant professor of computer science, said, “We are living in the era of the Internet, smartphones, and increasingly powerful technology. That technology’s power has not translated well to empowering the modern voter. While we are living in the information age, we are getting by with horse-and-buggy representation. I intend to change that. Democracy is a muscle that must be exercised to work properly, but the system we have now does not allow for easy and ongoing participation by all citizens.”
Hansen considers himself to be a problem solver, but admits that he doesn’t have all of the answers and says that he is open to a wide range of ideas. He says, “Often, candidates who ask to be elected will claim to have solutions to problems that citizens care about in their back pocket and that the candidates’ opinions and voices will accurately represent their constituents.” Hansen believes that a representative’s voice should be heard exactly as loudly as the opinions all of the other citizens he or she seeks to represent. “The best solutions reside in the minds and hands of the citizens, not with politicians. Vermonters can speak for themselves, and in a state this size, representatives in government must take a direct, personal, and most importantly, nonpartisan role in their communities.”
Direct democracy provides the people with a direct, unfiltered voice in that government. Stopping somewhat short of that, Hansen proposes a system of direct democracy in combination with our current system of representative democracy. He suggests that, “A representative should be elected who would work strictly as an advisor and make all policy and voting decisions based on the will of his or her constituents, regardless of personal opinion.” Hansen proposes a 3-part plan to empower Washington County citizens and develop a system of what he calls “direct representative democracy”:
- Hold regular (at least monthly) public meetings with any interested constituents in Washington County to discuss bills, issues, and creative solutions to citizen concerns.
- Provide an accessible online voting platform to allow discussion and voting on bills, the results of which he will carry to the State Senate.
- As the Vermont Constitution does not allow for recall of elected officials, he will sign a contract with the people of Washington County to promise to step down voluntarily if constituents vote to recall him for failing to accurately represent them.
Born in Wisconsin, Hansen earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees while holding full-time positions in the field of information technology. He moved to Vermont after receiving his PhD and accepting a position at Norwich University. He teaches a variety of topics in computer science and information security, and conducts research on privacy in social networks, and security of medical systems. He lives with his wife and two young children in Montpelier, and in June will be moving into a new home in Berlin.