Instructor of Political Science, University of Colorado Boulder
AB Social Welfare University of California Berkeley; MA Political Science University of Arizona; PhD Political Science Harvard University
As an academic focused on American politics, I am an avid observer of politics, including of redistricting politics. I regularly teach undergraduates on issues of American politics, including on the US Congress, and oversee students engaged in political and campaign-related internships (for all political parties and a wide range of candidates at local, state and national levels). I am a regular voter, participated in some nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016, and have been a nominal financial contributor (a small donation to Joe Neguse's District 2 campaign (2019); small donations to state Senate candidate Sally Boccella (2020).
Boulder Rotary Club; American Red Cross (Boulder-Broomfield Chapter, Disaster Action Team); Institute for Environmental Solutions (steering committee for CO community projects, 2014-present); Global Greengrants (pro bono researcher, 2017-2019); Eco-Cycle (pro bono research associate, 2016-2017); Wild Foundation (pro bono project coordinator, 2015); Colorado Alliance for Environmental Educators; North American Association for Environmental Educators; Community Food Share (weekly volunteer in food distribution, 2015-2018)
I have concentrated my efforts on addressing environmental issues and community support. These are issues I take a hands-on approach to through my volunteer activities and then focus on through my classes (regularly teaching an upper division course at CU Boulder focused on environmental policy, for example)
There are two basic reasons guiding my interest: First, I strongly support the interest of fair representation. Among other things, this means that district lines are not written in such a way to ensure a particular outcome, but rather that citizens in each district are given real choice with candidates that attend to the needs and interests of the population. Second, I am a strong believer in shared community responsibility. While it is easy to criticize the decisions of others, we often forget how difficult it is to shoulder the decisions. I offer my time and effort to share that responsibility.
Being even-handed and building consensus are critical practices in my teaching and community service. I seek to identify needs and shared interests in building towards agreement -- moving away from hard positions to language that fosters a commitment to supporting our common ground. I have long used the negotiation principles and practices developed in the book "Getting to Yes." In terms of my ability to be fair or impartial, these are practices critical in any effective community activity or in the teaching environment, and most particularly in the contemporary political science class. I communicate to students at the outset that we should expect disagreement and this is partly due to our different sets of life experiences. Furthermore, none of us has a lock on "the truth," and instead it is the collective set of perspectives that will help us to identify our common reality and get us closer to "the truth." This is akin to the traditional Indian parable, "the blind men and the elephant." With this at the foundation, I am committed to not only giving fair and equal voice to competing perspectives, but also asking individuals to "step into the shoes of the other" as we consider why we might disagree. I favor coming to the middle rather than than win-lose outcomes.
I am well-steeped in a variety of analytical methods, from quantitative to qualitative analysis, and seek the best available data to build understanding. Not all social phenomena are measurable or accepted as valid, and thus I am also very much attuned to how ideas are communicated, sometimes very intentionally designed to divide. I have also paid attention to the details of redistricting (legal rules, political manuevering, technology aids in achieving politically-favored results, etc.). While I cannot claim expertise in mapping, I am an analytical thinker and balanced thinker who can spot bias.