Rose Maureen McCarney
I am currently unemployed
I have a BA in Political Science and am ABD (all but dissertation) for a PhD in Political Science.
I have been an attendant at Democratic Party meetings, and in 2016, I was elected as a delegate from my precinct to the county-wide convention. I have not had enough disposable income to give a monetary contribution to candidates or campaigns that I support, but I have been an active "helper." A a political scientist I prefer studying political organizations and activities to actively working for a candidate or campaign. This should not be regarded as an impediment to selection, however. When Colorado voters passed Amendments Y and Z in 2018, they recognized the politicization of the redistricting process in which party dominance appeared more important than equity. In taking redistricting out of the hands of the legislature, they hoped to encourage the creation of intelligent political boundaries that provide potentially competitive districts rather than the horrors of gerrymandering that occurs in other states. Colorado voters wanted to remove party operatives and party goals from the process. As someone who has not been a contributor to any campaign or activist for a specific party, I am exactly what the people of Colorado were hoping for in these commissioners: knowledgeable citizens, capable of understanding and communicating about voting districts and the process of drawing them, without a (to use the vernacular) "dog in the fight." As a political scientist, I certainly have the knowledge base for understanding the job but also access to the latest research and findings about fair redistricting. As someone affiliated with the Democratic Party and as a supporter of Democratic candidates, I am capable of representing their interests but not to the exclusion of fairness. As someone who has not been a candidate nor worked as an operative for a candidate, I am not primarily interested in enhancing the power of my party at the expense of voters who belong to the other party or are independent of party affiliation. If the intention of these amendments was to re-create party power relationships, then Colorado voters would have left the decision making in the hands of the legislature.
I have been an independent resource for many community organizations but not necessarily an active member. I trained as part of the formation of the community radio station KWSI. I was chosen to act as facilitator for a progressive summit held in 2018 because I was regarded as neutral but interested. I have been tapped by the organizing committee of Colorado West Pride to help with Pride Fest in Grand Junction, most recently to recruit and organize the poetry offering during the festival. I have been consulted by my neighbors and friends to explain candidates and amendments and initiatives on the ballot, hosting a neighborhood "voting party" in the 2018 election. I have been an ally and participant during the LBGTQ Lobby Day in the Colorado Legislature.
In addition to those already mentioned above, I have spent much of my career both in graduate school and after doing focus group research for a variety of public organizations on a number of topics. First, my team worked for the Department of Energy gathering and analyzing citizens concerns at the Hanford Nuclear site in Hanford Washington. I recruited participants from the environmental community, from first responders, from nuclear workers at the site, from the communities surrounding Hanford, and from a host of other stakeholder groups. I organized and facilitated focus groups with these citizens to extract their priorities for the site clean-up. I, then, with my co-lead investigators prepared a report for the DOE chronicling our findings. We analyzed the efficacy of focus groups as a research tool in an article on which I was the lead author. During my time at Colorado Mesa University, I worked with the Natural Resource Center doing a variety of focus group research concerning public land use for the Bureau of Land Management and other public land agencies. Focus group research of this kind is all about listening to and understanding the different language people use to discuss their concerns, desires, and interests. My primary area of study in political science has been language, and in all my focus group work, my job has been to analyze, understand, and represent the language used by participants.
Service is the important issue here. Serving as a member of this commission allows me to give back. I have enjoyed a unique set of opportunities and gathered a unique set of skills that I want to place at the disposal of my fellow Coloradans. I am interested in serving on the commission for two related reasons. First, I believe in democracy. I believe in American democracy, and as we have been reminded in the most recent election, voting is the most important things that citizens do to express their will in our democracy. To maintain the integrity of our democracy, citizens need to know that their votes count, that their participation makes a difference. Voters consigned to districts where their votes are neutralized by gerrymandering are less likely to be engaged and less likely to feel that their participation is important. Second, since I voted in favor of both these amendments, I think it's important to take responsibility for that choice. It's not somebody else's job to do this challenging and important work; it's my job as a citizen. Additionally, I know how to conduct a public comment meeting, how to make an effective presentation, and how to elicit and encourage people to articulate their concerns. I am comfortable speaking to large groups about complex subjects and am really talented at providing different explanations when folks have a hard time understanding. I want to be a part of this process, to be an ambassador for this process without partisan preference.
As I indicated above, my interest in in language. Promoting consensus is all about showing people that while they might use different language, they share similar concerns and want similar things. I have more than a decade's worth of experience in doing that.
As a highly trained social scientist, analysis, logic, and reason are key skills in both researching and teaching. As a graduate student, I chose to specialize in statistics--it became my "foreign language"--because statistics were the most useful tool for investigating language. I am at home with numbers and with analyses based on numbers. I also have experience creating GIS maps, the translation of information gathered in focus groups on public lands required translation into maps that participants could view and use.