Over the course of the summer, we've had the privilege of working with a team of six smart, dedicated, talented young people through our Democracy Fellowship program, in partnership with the Foundation for Civic Leadership and Democracy Matters. You may have seen them at walks, fairs, or other events, but here's your chance to get to know them! Here's Ian:
Hi there. My name is Ian Duffee and I’m a 21 year old Senior at SUNY Geneseo in western New York. Originally I’m from a suburb in Westchester County just north of New York City, but I spend my time all over the place, right now in the lovely state of New Hampshire.
When I was younger my family drove up to Franconia, NH every summer to relax and spend time together. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve paddle boating on Echo Lake near the Old Man of the Mountain and eating at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill.
It’s been a neat opportunity to return to New Hampshire to work with Democracy Matters, a campus based group that organizes students and faculty to get big money out of politics. I’ve been involved with Democracy Matters since I discovered the chapter at Geneseo, and while I’m here in New Hampshire I’ll be trying to help campuses in the state open up chapters themselves come fall. Also, I miss Polly’s and want to go back there.
I’ve also been writing blog posts for Democracy Matters and New Hampshire Rebellion. I’m particularly interested in the modern organizing strategies politicians use to mobilize voters, and seeing how us grassroots folks can steal them for the common good. I’m also interested in the ways corporations and special interests lobby the government for friendly legislation, and how these processes can be used by the public. Technology provides a lot of opportunities for the public to take control of politics, and I’m interested in how exactly to do that.
New Hampshire is a really neat place to look at American politics. I’ve learned to appreciate the town hall as essential to the democratic process. It brings larger-than-life candidates down to a human level and holds them to a very real degree of accountability. Voters here have strong opinions and are incredibly well informed. I’m glad to have this chance to learn from them.