Application for Legislative Commission for Blake Watters

Contact Information

Full Name

Blake Watters

Party Affiliation

Unafffiliated

Occupation

Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space

Educational Background

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a certificate in Business Foundations from the University of Texas

Zip Code

80110

Congressional District
1

Background

Past Political Activity

In recent months this year, I donated to the following organizations/campaigns: "Impact Slates", Amy McGrath, Jamie Harrison. Impact Slates was a project to distribute donations among multiple campaigns targeted with the aim of combating identified threats of gerrymandering by Republicans. I donated to the campaigns of challengers McGrath and Harrison after distaste over the incumbents' demonstrated hypocrisy regarding SCOTUS confirmations.

List of Political and Civic Organizations belonged to

Volunteer/advisor for the Aerospace Engineering Explorer Post, a youth STEM program branch of the Learning for Life organization; member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) professional organization.

Organization and Advocacy Experience

N/A

Statement

The practice of gerrymandering is, in my view, entirely antithetical to the execution of democracy. It creates, as they say, the scenario in which "representatives choose their voters, instead of voters choosing their representatives". In addition to the inherent tendency to disenfranchise, in eliminating insecurity of office, it undermines accountability and leads to numerous perverse incentives in the conduct of governance, including hyper-partisanship, scapegoating, red herring, etc. Voters deserve districts that make sense and are rooted in objective logic, or at least not the result of direct manipulation for selfish gain. Moreover, Coloradans chose the brighter, hopeful path that is the establishment of this commission and we will be setting an example; I believe it is absolutely critical that the endeavor be given its best shot at demonstrating success and standing up to scrutiny.

Statement on Working with Consensus

In my work in the engineering of complex systems, I am familiar with (1) juggling various stakeholders, and (2) the reality that solutions are rarely clear-cut, but require a weighting of various (often competing) factors. Perhaps the most important key is underscoring the common values and objectives shared by the team. I make a point of listening to understand and communicating that understanding, and then moving on to the task of weighting the different considerations to seek a proper balance. Differences in priority will persist, but it helps to emphasize the shared mission and values. Every argument made or point raised is an opportunity to learn or understand something new, and I hold a deep interest in understanding different perspectives, believing that there is at least one piece of truth or importance beneath each one. Throughout my life and upbringing/schooling I have been lucky to have been surrounded by diversity, ideological and otherwise. I grew up in the conservative south in a liberal-leaning immigrant household and though I tend to be more of a "centrist" myself, the fact of the matter is that I have lived my entire life caring deeply about various friends, loves, coworkers, and family members of all matter of political persuasions. This has afforded me an open mind, a strong capacity for respect, and an appreciation for debate. Finally, with my background in STEM, I harbor an intense loyalty to facts/data and critical thinking as the basis for decision-making.

Relevant Analytic Skills for Commission

Even beyond my career as a trained engineer, I have long been a fervent champion for critical thinking and harbored an intense appetite for problem-solving. In the field of aerospace, even more so than other engineering efforts, we are charged with designing complex self-sufficient systems to navigate exceptionally challenging constraints and it is imperative to practice what we term "Systems Thinking". One must think big and yet think small at the same time, focusing with attention to detail on ensuring constituent performance while also maintaining sight of the big picture and tracking behaviors that only emerge at the system level. Optimal performance of the whole is almost always produced by the balancing of trades and compromises among the parts. There are certain core principles of Systems Thinking which I hold to be of chief importance (in life in addition to space systems), namely: questioning one's assumptions as well as rigorous consideration and analysis of unintended effects/consequences. These are the well-greased skills that I exercise at work, at home, and at the ballot which I hope to bring to the table. At the end of the day, societal structures, political science, and government also represent complex systems. And the charge of this commission constitutes problem-solving that is both compelling and of solemn patriotic significance.

Demographics

Racial categories the applicant identifies with:
Caucasian
Applicant identifies with the following gender

Male