I am running for office because I feel strongly that we are running out of time to restore civil dialogue between our neighbors and fellow citizens. We are in the grips of accelerating polarization, driven by the internet fueling an endless battle between two tired political parties. We are witnessing an erosion of the fundamental pillars of our democracy. This is dangerous in the best of times, yet as the COVID-19 pandemic has made tragically worse, it poses a clear and present danger to our society. We need to unify to restore civil dialogue and repair a tarnished political process.
I seek to represent the 5th Legislative District in Washington State because all of us, especially our children, deserve better government.
Internet forces mean our politics today are hopelessly splintered, intolerant, even routinely abusive. The big technology platforms dominate information distribution, are notoriously vulnerable to abuse, and resistant to oversight. We risk ceding control of the political arena to the most cynical, angry, and shameless. This is just as true in Washington, D.C. as it is in Olympia and my neighborhood in Issaquah.
We, the digital citizens of the 5th District, deserve better – from our leaders, from Big Tech, and from each other. My campaign is focused on healthier discourse, and healthier discourse begins with a healthier, reformed internet. My wife and I want our kids, and all young people “born digital,” to reach adulthood in a world that respects all points of view, including thoughtful moderation.
As your representative I will fight for four key internet reforms to give our children a brighter future and a democracy to be proud of.
- Regulation: The partisan divide on the Internet emceed by Big Tech is no longer an academic exercise. We need a stronger regulatory hand to force accountability for content, data privacy, and algorithmic transparency. Twice the Washington State legislature has failed to pass data privacy protection (SB6281). We must get this bill passed.
- Journalism: We need credible, non-partisan local journalism. 5th LD residents who lack reliable local news turn to suspect social media rumor mills or opinion outlets. Washington State used to have an independent, nonpartisan “News Council” that conducted independent reviews of media coverage. Through public-private partnerships, let’s reconstitute the News Council and support legitimate local news in the 5th LD.
- Civics: It’s been withering for years as a secondary-school staple. We have to reinvigorate civics in American life. Equipping our children to spot internet disinformation means making information literacy a classroom priority. I will work with fellow legislators to bring civics back to public schools.
- Anonymity: User privacy is important, but internet trolls leverage anonymity to stalk, threaten, misinform, and circulate false rumors. There is a big difference between protecting individuals from corporate snooping – and protecting trolls from bullying innocents or spreading disinformation. To make the internet safer, I favor identity-verification protocols for social media that can be as simple as entering your PIN at an ATM.
I believe the time is right for a third-party campaign that attracts citizens tired of juvenile mudslinging. That’s why I run not as a Republican or Democrat, but under the Unity Restoration banner.
The coronavirus era proves we have to work harder to counter online falsehoods and stabilize the internet. I’m running to build the safer, more civil and inclusive internet the 5th Legislative District deserves.