I'm from Billings, MT and my background has largely been in ministry (first as a parish pastor in the United Church of Christ and then for the last 18 years as a Conference Minister -- a position similar to that of Bishop in other denominations). I also was a teacher for a total of 9 years and for 3 years was part of a home-remodeling business with 2 other partners.
How long have you been a member of Project Vote Smart?
I've been a member of Project Vote Smart since the late 1990's.
What made you want to volunteer here?
I first became aware of the Project when Karen came home from the Public Library in Cincinnati, OH with a brochure on the Project. We liked what we read -- a good description of a serious effort to inform voters and improve the electoral process.
What tasks are you given in the office?
I primarily did data entry during my 2 weeks at the Ranch. I focused on updating the data bank for city council members, township commissioners, and county commissioners. In doing so I dealt with data for 2 states: Iowa and Michigan. I also helped Steve with some outside projects -- a nice break from the monitor!
For our free time Karen and I did a variety of things: we paddled a few times on Moose Lake and once on the small pond, we walked the perimeter of the Ranch, we played some table games after dinner with other member volunteers, we watched several political debates, we spent some hours in Philipsburg (museum and candy store), we did a shopping trip to Anaconda, and we had many conversations with different staff and interns. We enjoyed the free time and the ways we shared with the various "residents" of the Ranch!
Why do you feel Project Vote Smart is important?
I feel that the Project is important because we live in a nation with an abysmal voting record -- low turnout and uninformed voters. The challenge is to find ways to get more people to use the valuable information that the Project offers!
How would you describe Project Vote Smart to friends and family?
Ever since returning I've described the Project to a number of different people. I make it clear that it offers helpful, non-partisan information nationwide -- not only on candidates but also in helpful ways such as voting laws in different states. I also mention the Vote Easy option -- a great new tool that makes it easy for people to use the Project's information quickly ... and which then invites people into further research. To enable all of this I urge people to check out the website.