Jack Markell for Re-Election to State Treasurer
Re-Election to State Treasurer in DE http://www.markell.org
Primary Election Date: 2006-03-24 General Election Date: 2006-03-24
Who am I?
My life is rooted in Delaware, a state that has managed to preserve its small-town, farm community values while becoming a pluralistic society and a sophisticated, global financial capital. Because of its small size, it maintains a rare degree of bipartisan pragmatism that generally reflects a socially progressive, fiscally prudent tradition. Like most Delawareans, I am proud to be a part of that tradition.
I was raised in the quiet university town of Newark, where my father was a professor of accounting. Growing up I experienced several life-shaping events.
I discovered the real meaning of community when our neighbors rallied to support my family after a swastika was burned in our backyard. I was profoundly influenced by my parents' dignity and spirit of inclusiveness.
Just before graduating from Newark High School, I traveled with my parents to India, witnessing images of desperate poverty that strongly shaped my future career decisions. After earning degrees in economics and development studies from Brown University I reached a crossroads: Peace Corps, or business? I chose the latter, specifically because it was already clear to me that those who control money and business make decisions that have a huge impact on so many people. I took a job with the First National Bank of Chicago and went to school at night, earning an MBA from the University of Chicago.
In 1989 I was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of an upstart telecommunications company: Nextel. As the thirteenth employee, I served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and helped launched the company to global prominence. I also worked in senior management at Comcast, as a consultant for the management firm McKinsey & Company, and as a banker at First Chicago Corporation.
Having achieved the skills I sought in business, in 1998 I carried out my plan to move into public service, winning election as the State Treasurer of Delaware. In 2006 I will launch my second reelection campaign, with the help of a strong state network of volunteers as well as support and funding from across the country.
I reside now in Wilmington, Delaware, with my wife, Carla, whom I met in high school, and our children, Molly, 12, and Michael, 10. Carla graduated from the University of Delaware and became a corporate trainer in career development and workplace substance abuse before becoming a full-time mother.
Why am I running?
In an era of rhetoric inflation, we've become jaded to language about leaving the world a better place; about looking back at your life and knowing that you made a difference. But that is the passion that motivates me daily, as an officeholder and as a candidate.
I have spent the first seven years of my political career carrying out the chief goal I set for myself as a young man: to use the language, tools, and power of business to create tangible prosperity for as many people as possible. My goal is founded on several specific beliefs:
Every citizen who is able and willing to work hard should earn a living wage and have the opportunity to achieve and prosper.
Society has a moral obligation to ensure that those who cannot work--and those in the "dawn, dusk, and shadow of life"-- live in dignity and can achieve their highest possible potential.
Government cannot solve all problems; however, government is uniquely suited to solving certain problems and has an obligation to do so.
Through policy initiatives and as a broker in public/private partnerships, government should give individual citizens the tools necessary to improve their lives.
Government has a responsibility to use taxpayer dollars in a smart and efficient way.
I intend to go wherever my political career takes me in order to put my philosophy into action, and the next step is my reelection campaign for State Treasurer in 2006.
I interpret my role as treasurer very broadly. In my traditional role as chief steward of the state's finances I seek to bring ingenuity and business savvy to the management of revenues and expenses. Yet I also see myself as an agent for change on many matters regarding the financial health of the state and its citizens. My key campaign issues reflect this dual role:
Personal Financial Literacy and Empowerment
I know from the results of my policy initiatives that when you teach people how to take charge of their finances, you give them extraordinary power to become productive, positive members of society. Yet financial illiteracy is rampant in America today; it is a source of despair and of squandered lives. As treasurer I have created low-cost, effective programs--some with private co-sponsorship and funding--to educate adults and children about personal finance and to encourage a culture of saving in today's consumer-oriented world.
A New Approach to Economic Development
Delaware mirrors the nation in the economic threats it faces from globalization, the erosion of traditional industries, the health care crisis, and changing demographics. Yet it possesses some unique strengths, including its position as the corporate capital of the world. I have enacted some of the many initiatives I wish to promote to diversify Delaware's economic/job base, lessen the state's dependence on a few big industries (chemicals, banking, auto manufacturing, and poultry farming), and encourage entrepreneurship. We need a major leap in approaches to economic development-- including the creation of a highly educated workforce--to create the conditions in which clean, high-growth, high-employment companies and industries can thrive in the new, globally competitive environment.
Streamlined, Effective Government
Wasting taxpayer money is unacceptable at any time--and even more so right now for Delaware. Several of the state's most lucrative revenue streams, which have helped keep Delaware a low-tax state for more than a generation, are threatened by the changing economic environment. So it is imperative that we streamline government to make it more fiscally responsible. But that does not mean we have to sacrifice the government's responsibility to its citizens. In fact we can better manage government to cut waste and improve responsiveness. My staff and I have done just that, in ways that have won numerous national awards. (See below.)
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
Grassroots organizing plays a huge role in our campaign. My campaign team and I are setting the foundations for a great bottom-up organization. The idea is to create local captains, who are everyday people and not political professionals, who will be trained and educated on effective organizing. These captains will be on-the-ground and can offer up better ideas for their own communities than any outsider ever could. The local level will be the focus through neighbor to neighbor communication, event planning, and education.
Our campaign also recognizes the importance of technology and the role the internet has in community organizing. Television does not have an energizing effect " people assume that others are taking care of an issue or campaign if they see it on television. The internet, however, is different. The web community can be tapped and inspired toward action. There are opportunities available for building online coalitions and conversations which advances public participation. We are currently developing internet organizing abilities available to our volunteers, called The Jack Pack,? which empowers our supporters to log in and organize at all different levels of access. We also have a blog set up to encourage public discussion about the issues surrounding our campaign. We are utilizing many other technological resources, and we may very likely be the most tech-savvy campaign Delaware has ever seen.
In addition, we are currently building networks of interest groups - for example, Teachers for Markell and Moms for Markell, to name just a couple. However, instead of having these groups be in-name-only, we will give members the ability and access to our resources so they can have a stake in the structure, which is inherently motivating.
In general, our campaign is interested in long term political organizing. We are looking not just at this election, but for those in the future as well. By laying the foundations now in our communities for action-oriented participation, we are furthering a culture of participation and civic engagement in Delaware.