Thirty years ago I took a leap of faith uncharacteristic for me then and now. I quit
my professional job as Archivist at the Arizona Historical Society, sold my house in
Tucson, and more or less ran away and joined the circus!
Richard Kimball and I, along with other like-minded national leaders, had started a
non-profit dedicated to providing all voters with the essential background facts needed to choose our political leaders independently and wisely. Through the years since then, it has always felt like working for a start-up, on a shoestring ... but clearly helping millions of people on all sides of the political spectrum. Vote Smart is now recognized by all in the field as the organization that started the whole notion of public, free, non-partisan databases on candidates and elections—before CNN or any other news organization thought of it. The highest tech at the time for disseminating such information was a toll-free phone number—our Voter’s Research Hotline, staffed by college interns and volunteers. This was my tradeoff for leaving a profession I had loved: the exciting reward of working hard, side-by-side for the common good.
Thus, public service became a passion for me long after I slept through the one
civics course I was required to take at the University of Texas back in 1968. I developed
a public conscience later than most people, and I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've had to exercise it since 1992. I thank Richard for persuading me that information management in service of the public good could be even more exciting than in the dusty stacks of the historical society.
I have been privileged to work side-by-side with some of the world's brightest,
most ethical and competent people—most of them young people in or just out of college, and they have given me all the hope I retain that their generations will rise to meet and solve the challenges ahead for our country. And many of the founders have been models of public service and sources of wisdom for Vote Smart for many years.
Life without Vote Smart 24/7 will take some mental adjustment, but I am more than ready for it. I have many other passions to pursue and am excited to move forward,
with gratitude for all my experiences at Vote Smart. It has been a world-class education,
and I am a better citizen of the world for those 30 years of working as hard as I could for the common good.
Finally, and most importantly, all my thanks go to our incredibly generous and loyal
members, who have made it all possible, and many of whom have become good friends. If you would like to stay in touch in the future, don’t hesitate to email me or Richard at email@example.com.