Give me a chance to work with someone who shares my slightly-higher-than-reasonable expectations for the project at hand, provides cookies at meetings, and isn’t afraid to dork out on (what some might consider) inane topics, and I am content. Enter John Marion, defender of democracy, Census champion, and executive director of Common Cause RI.
When I asked John how he was doing during COVID-19, he responded, “counting my blessings and privileges.” His wife, Karen, is a physician with a community health center located in 02909, the hardest-hit zip code in Rhode Island. John notes, “I see greater awareness of some of the inequities from folks who don’t typically talk about them or even use that language, so I’m hopeful that the conversation continues as the health care situation stabilizes…And we’ll start to work hopefully more collaboratively toward some solutions.”
Used to haunting the halls of the Rhode Island State House during the first half of each year, John and his organization have shifted to supporting online open meetings and voting-by-mail. “One thing we’ve seen is a lot more people attending public meetings,” he said. “People are going to demand that ability once this is over.”
(As we should.)
Dear reader, you’ll want to watch all the way to the end for John’s three civically-minded tips.