Atlanta, GA, July 20, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- How many people does it take to change a light bulb?
One …if that person is Jon Jones, and if that light bulb is your idea of government.
Jones, a 25-year-old Atlanta resident, is running for City Council with the mission of fundamentally changing how government operates. Since America’s founding, its citizens have elected public officials to represent them in the legislative branches of local, state, and federal government. This age-old system is known as “representative democracy”. But Jones contends that, not only is this system inherently flawed, but that it is also wildly outdated. “We live in an age of instant communication. Why has our government not kept pace?” Jones asks.
And in terms of us living in an era of instant communication, he is right. Today’s generation of citizens are powered by laptops, smart phones, tablets, and constant access to the Internet. Data released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2010, 75.9% of all households have access to the Internet. Fifteen years ago, when the Census Bureau first collected data on households with Internet access, only 18 percent of Americans lived in homes that could connect to the Web. The growth of business in the last 20 years has been driven by our ability to transfer information immediately, and to have unfettered access to information that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously.
Jones states, “We bank online. We shop for food, clothes, and homes online. We meet new people, and share experiences with them - all through technology.” He argues that government is the last remaining frontier for which people can use technology to make their lives more efficient. Jones envisions building a website that is part wiki, and part social network to make direct democracy a reality for Atlanta residents living in his district. His proposed website would allow residents to share documents and resources, hold discussions, announce events, write and propose legislation, vote on bills currently being considered by City Hall, and make changes to existing ordinances. If the project is successful, Atlanta would be the first American city to operate a direct democracy at the local level of government.
But this dream, for Jones, is an up-hill battle. As a candidate, Jones is overwhelmingly outmatched. The vote for the seat Jones is trying to fill doesn’t reach the ballot until November 5, 2013 – a whopping 16 months away. And to win the election, Jones would have to successfully unseat the current incumbent, Kwanza Hall. Hall, who has represented Atlanta’s 2nd District for the past 7 years, is extremely popular among his constituents, has close ties to the community, and boasts a campaign war chest valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jones, on the other hand, is relatively new to politics, has just 12 volunteer campaign staffers, and The Committee to Elect Jon Jones has just under $1,000 in its ledger. With 16 months of campaigning, Jones argues that this is ample time to build an organization that can raise money, garner attention, and get his message to voters by November of next year. Jones, for the most part, has been a one-man operation: designing his own campaign’s website, creating all of the handout materials on his personal laptop, and even taking most of his campaign photos on a small digital camera. But like a person changing a light bulb, Jones believes that all it takes is one individual to start a movement. He adds, “And once the light bulb is on, it can light the way for the world to see.”