Posted by Ruben Labron on July 21, 2017
Hello everyone! My name is Ruben Lebron and I like to say that I come from both the heartland in Kansas - where I lived the past five years and which significantly shaped me - and also from my beloved island of Puerto Rico where I grew up. I am an Economist and Political Scientist and I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Strategic Governance and Political Communication at The George Washington University. Although I did not come from a privileged family, I was fortunate to have people empower me to follow my dreams. And this background is relevant because from it stems my purpose in life. I want to take a systems-change approach to ensure that everyone willing to work hard and with integrity has an opportunity, a fair opportunity, to follow their dreams.
And this is where FairVote comes in. I believe that our democracy can and should be better. A healthy democracy is essential in safeguarding the rights and responsibilities of all Americans, and allows the country to adapt to its evolving needs. Sadly, our current system is incentivizing partisanship and gridlock as opposed to collaboration. Congress does not represent our diverse nation and is unresponsive to the needs of Americans like you and me.
Our system is so dysfunctional we can actually predict 85% of Congressional races two years before they occur. That is before we know the candidates for certain and before constituents can debate important issues. Even worse, States considered deep blue like Connecticut where all their members of Congress are Democrats, still have upwards of 40% of their population that normally votes Republican but receive no representation. A similar case is ongoing in Oklahoma with Democrats having no representation, even though a third of their voters are Democrats. In both cases the slight majority gets 100% of the representation and a significant minority is left voiceless. Is this fair representation?
The work that we do is already helping thousands in localities throughout the nation to have fair representation and elected officials that reflect the rich diversity of our nation. More than this I believe in this cause because I am confident that ranked-choice voting and multi-winner districts will provide the much-needed voice to underrepresented Americans and the communities very dear to me. These reforms would increase the possibilities of creating meaningful reform that ensures access to good, affordable health care, addresses income inequality, and keeps our families from being separated by an unjust criminal and immigration system
Thus I am ecstatic to join FairVote as the Outreach Fellow and work arduously to create transformative political reform and create a stronger democracy that gives voters greater choice and a stronger voice. Like the cliché goes, I strongly believe I am at the right place, at the right time, and would not like to be anywhere else at this point in my career. I thank God for this challenge and all those that have paved the way to help me get here. I invite you to get to know more about the reforms that we are working to implement at FairVote and do not hesitate to get in touch if you wish to further discuss.