When I went to college I knew that I wanted to learn more about business. Accounting is the meat and potatoes of business. Knowing and understanding financial statements, transaction accounting, and taxes has always been important to my family since my dad is a small business owner.
On the flip side, my family has always had an eye on politics. So much of what happens in politics can have a direct impact on a small business. From an early age I remember raucous debates between my dad, grandpa, and uncles after holiday meals about the state of the economy, new laws and regulations, taxes, the state of the world, and the state of our country.
Life from a young age, set me on a path to obtain my dual degrees in accounting and political science. What could be more elemental to tax studies than the politics that go into creating the legislation that dictates how income (for tax purposes) is calculated?
I’ve written before about my experience in international politics. However, even more fundamental to my political education was learning how important it is to know your elected officials. One of the most meticulous websites for cataloging voting records, speeches, and interest group endorsements on practically every politician active in an election, in one place, is Project Vote Smart (VoteSmart.org).
The summer before the 2004 presidential election, I was one of the lucky 30 or so college students selected to bunk in the Rocky Mountains at 1 Common Ground Lane on the Great Divide Ranch for the summer to assist with the process of collecting and cataloging all the information we could find for every candidate possible.
The task at hand was tedious and repetitive, but it was/is so important. Even now, before I go to the poles I go to VoteSmart.org to learn as much as I can about the candidates on my sample ballot. Project Vote Smart does not give you spin. The site provides hard sourced information and lets you make up your own mind about who you want to support.
Independent resources like VoteSmart.org allow me as an independent thinker and voter to decide for myself who will best represent me and the interests of my community.
Though the ranch has been sold and the HQ of Project Vote Smart have moved to Iowa, my memories from the summer of 2004 and the importance of providing hard sourced information to voters are priceless.