More Praise and Support for Mark Ritchie

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I know I gushed about Mark Ritchie in a previous post, but I went to another one of his fundraisers in NYC tonight and I just think he is deserving of more praise. I met Mark ironically in Hong Kong at the World Trade Organization. One of his colleagues (under the non-profit that he had founded - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) had hired me to represent fair trade issues at the fair trade expo. Mark, if I can just say (and I will) is a McArthur Genius and one of the finest, fairest people that I have ever met. He is currently the DFL endorsed candidate running for Secretary of State in Minnesota. He gives me hope in our democratic system. At the event, he gave an impassioned speech about his role as Secretary of State and acknowledged that even though a Democrat, his goal was to "deliver an election to everybody that is open, free, and fair," something that hasn't been given to the citizens of MN in quite some time under the current opponent who is up for re-election.

"There is a fundamental crisis in the democracy - people's participation," Mark stated. "I had 40 people call into me recently because they just finished watching 4 Princeton professors on CNN hack into a voters machine in 45 seconds and change the results. People are disenchanted with the final results and feel disempowered. Secretary of State is tackling bigger issues - these issues. We need to figure out a way that our electoral process can make a difference because there is a hunger for it. It won't happen until people step foward."

He acknowledged that there needs to be more cross-collaboration between states. For 2006, he said that he is busy building and supporting a network of people running for Sectretary of State ('08) across many states. "This ensures the Presidential Candidate doesn't have to go to the same state a dozen times, because we are doing our job of mobilizing the base of voters in an open, free, and fair way." Perhaps that is what will get MN and other neighboring states out of the swing state category.

GO Mark GO!

If you would like to support Mark, visit his site here.

P.S. Jon Tester, who is running for an important Senate race in Montana was also supposed to be there, but didn't make it. Hopefully he was off at another important event. Mark at the Fair Trade Expo in Hong Kong

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