2012 Board Election
2012 Candidate Statements for Board of Directors
The election will take place at the Annual Meeting on Tues, May 22. Members can nominate themselves at the meeting.
I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Oberlin College in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in history. Upon graduation, I departed for a two year post-bachtoral fellowship in India. I spent 2002-2004 in Madurai, India teaching English to students with ambulatory disabilities and running an International Student Center at the American College of Madurai. Following my fellowship, I moved to Madison where I worked as a political/union organizer from 2004 through 2006. Subsequent to my organizing positions I received my Wisconsin teaching license and proceeded to work for the Vera Court Neighborhood as an administrator and director of academic programming for the RISE program, which seeks to provide academic empowerment to students form low socio-economic backgrounds. For the last three years I have been working in the Mount Horeb Area School District where I coordinate academic services for at-risk high school students.
I am no expert in alternative currency but I do have a dearth of experiences which contribute to my understanding of the concept. While studying for my teaching license, I worked at Mother Fool’s Coffee House where first I became acquainted with Madison Hours. I periodically chose to take a portion of my take home pay in Madison Hours instead of US currency. I also sat for two year on the Time Bank’s Northside Kitchen Cabinet where I helped plan events and provided advisory assistance. I chose to vacate this position when I resigned from my role at Vera Court Neighborhood Center and accepted a teaching job in Mount Horeb. However, I still maintain a Time Bank account and keep abreast of Time Bank events. Additionally, I have been a long time participant in cooperative movements. At Oberlin I was a member of Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) and here in Madison I lived at International Coop which is part of MCC. These experiences helped me cultivate alternative views of societal organizations and exposed me to the consensus model of decision making.
While living in India I also had a variety of experiences which impacted my world view regarding monetary justice. In 2001 I conducted fieldwork in the Kolar region of Karnataka where I worked with gold miners who were organizing a syndical takeover of several gold mines which had been earmarked disinvestment by the federal government. I witnessed economic (and environmental) devastation first hand and understand the long-term consequences associated with these issues. I also spent a summer interning on an organic farm outside Bangalore, India where I did day labor in the fields with low caste peasants, which has given me a unique perspective on traditional labor patterns; their benefits and draw backs. I have spent much of my adult life working with marginalized communities who tend to be the most vulnerable in terms of economic instability. These are same communities who traditionally benefit most from alternative currencies during time of crisis.
I would be honored to serve on the board of Madison hours during this period of economic uncertainty. I am eager to work collaboratively with other board members to bring new ideas to fruition and to make suggestions of my own. I would of course like to see the Madison Hours network expanded to include more business but I have other ideas I would like to explore as well. I would also like to integrate more CSA’s and farmers markets into the Hours community to help reinforce our community’s food security prior to potential disruption of more main stream food distribution networks. Health Care is also a serious concern for me. I would like to explore the idea of expanding alternative currency into the realm of health services. With the cost of care skyrocketing and with millions of Americans going without insurance medical assistance is becoming increasingly out of reach for too many members of the community. Thank you for considering my application.
My interest in Madison Hours, as well as DCTB is that I would like t see a word where there is increasing participation of non profit organizations and other groups in this alternative economy. In the current economic environment, organizations are finding that the financial support that they have become increasingly dependent on is not reliable for supporting and sustaining their mission. Increasingly human resources have been tapped into through volunteerism. Mutual exchange takes volunteerism to a new level and opens an untapped world of resources. I would like to help identify what the barriers are to tapping in to these resources and figure out how to bridge the gaps by increasing engagement of Organizations and group with DCTB and MH together.
Madison Hours has great potential to build strong economic relationships that are inherently supportive of the local economy. As a founding member of the Hours system, I have always been primarily interested in how we can use local currency, mutual credit, barter, cooperative business models, etc to bring about a higher level of security in our community. I am especially excited to see that there is growing interest in these issues as the Great Recession rolls on and Occupy and other activists continue to educate the public and themselves. We are in the midst of a great societal transition and I'm looking forward to expanding the Hours system to meet more peoples' needs. I am also excited to engage more with the Dane County Timebank. We have great resources in Madison and are better situated than many cities to navigate the changing economy. Local currency has a role to play. I respectfully ask for your vote for another term on the Board of Directors.
In my several terms on the Board I've channeled my energy in many directions -- writing, speaking, doing outreach to the local community, consulting with other communities interested in starting currency systems, participating in reading sessions and study groups, organizing the monthly pancake breakfast fundraisers. All these activities meant proselytizing on behalf of community control of our exchange media, which has been quite satisfying to me.
Nevertheless, Madison Hours has never achieved its potential but I'm enthused that through increasing interconnection with the Timebank and the deployment of electronic trade capacity it might regain momentum toward significantly supplementing/displacing the dollar economy in the Dane County region. Another term on the Board would allow me to work toward seeing that happen.
I was on the planning team that launched Madison Hours in 1996. After the currency was launched I helped a lot with outreach. After a few years I left Madison Hours - but have remained a member with degrees of activity varying from none to some over the years - to pursue other things. In 2004 I learned about timebanking and other forms of mutual credit and became convinced that mutual credit held an important key to creating economic democracy and cooperative social dynamics. I began focusing on this area of work, attending conferences and trainings and launching and directing the Dane County TimeBank. I continue to work as DCTB Director while also coordinating Time For the World, a project to experiment, improve on, learn and share resources and learning among economically cooperative community projects. DCTB and Madison Hours have made an agreement to work together to create a more comprehensive and coherent cooperative economic system here in our region. I will be working on this problem in earnest in my role with DCTB and TFTW and it makes sense to me to step into this role of responsibility to Madison Hours also. My experience, contacts and learning in the field of complementary currencies and cooperative economics will help provide the tools we need to create a strong and thriving system.