My name is Tom Fehsenfeld and I am a 69 year old retired business executive from Michigan, but currently living in Asheville, North Carolina. I had a 41 year career at Crystal Flash, a family-owned fuels distribution business, after which we were able make the company 100% employee-owned. My wife is a full time artist and suggested I find a new mission to occupy my time when I retired because, “Artists don’t retire,” so I settled on improving the governance of our country by doing research and writing. Having no formal qualifications for this work, I enrolled in a Masters of Government program with Johns Hopkins University.
This summer, I took some time off to review everything I had read and written in my Master’s courses, so I could think about a direction for my work, and settled on an issue that is seldom discussed–how to factor the interests of future generations into the development of policy? There are 71 million Americans–22% of the population–who have no say in policies that will affect them in the future because they are too young to vote. Who looks after their interests? How are those interests factored into the policy process (if at all). Who thinks about what the impact of policies will be on their lives when they become adults in 10 or 15 years? I am looking forward to hearing ideas from many of you about what it would mean to have a democracy for future voters and how it could come about.
I hope the idea of prospective democracy applies to all democracies, but at my age, I think I’d better focus on one country at a time. Anyone out there who would like to focus on another country?