On behalf of the entire MapLight team, I am excited to introduce you to our newest board member: Paul Perry.
From the moment I met Paul, I was impressed by his drive to improve his community, our country, and our democracy. I'm looking forward to tapping into the wealth of knowledge and insight Paul has gained during his extensive experience in the social sector in order to do even more to create a government that works for the people.
Below, you'll find Paul's letter to the MapLight community. I hope you'll join me in giving Paul a warm welcome.
I am honored to join the MapLight Board of Directors.
At this moment in our political history, I am reminded of the words of Thomas Paine whose description of the revolutionary era has special resonance in these difficult times:
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
A special teacher and mentor in my life, Mrs. Montich, introduced these words to me and saw something in me as young man. She pushed me to serve. Her influence and that of other mentors in my life put me on a trajectory of service that took me into teaching, school leadership, and nonprofit executive roles.
Recently, I made my first (and very likely last) foray into electoral politics. I ran for Congress in my home state of Pennsylvania. I threw my hat in the ring because I was tired of being sick and tired. Based on my experiences working hand-in-hand with families in my career, I wanted to apply what I learned in schools and neighborhoods to change a system that is rigged against so many of us.
Suffice it to say, my experience was extremely dismaying. I experienced first-hand the downward pressures of money and influence-peddling in our political system. To rise to new challenges that lie before us, we need a new class of leaders. Yet our political system is designed to prevent that new generation of leaders we so desperately need from ever rising up and gaining power. That puts our collective future in danger and I won't stand for it.
I joined this board to work with you all to, once and for all, end the corrupting influence of money in our politics.
If we are as bold, caring, and determined as I know we can be...we will win.