PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | On the evening of March 9, we ventured to a charming area of Takoma Park, Md., to the equally charming restaurant Republic, where we had the honor of speaking with former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic—himself a charming man.
Novoselic was at Republic to talk about FairVote, an organization chaired by Novoselic (an Independent voter) that educates and empowers Americans to remove the structural barriers to achieving a representative democracy that respects every vote and every voice in every election. Half of the proceeds from the evening at Republic went to the FairVote organization.
Novoselic started off the intimate evening with witty banter and the importance of being involved with FairVote. Afterwards, the capacity crowd was treated to an accordion rendition of Lorde’s “Royals,” the accordion on loan from local music shop House of Musical Traditions.
Before the festivities, we sat outside on Republic’s heated patio to discuss Novoselic’s political activism, online streaming, and of course vinyl.
Before you were involved with FairVote, you supported the creation of the Joint Artists and Musicians Political Action Committee (JAMPAC). Is that what started your political activism career?
Yes, that’s my story. I got involved in these music issues in Washington State, where Seattle music was taking the world by storm but our own state legislator was trying to pass censorship bills. City Council created anti-music ordinances like the Teen Dance Ordinance and other weird laws from overreaching legislators. I started to learn about the political system; it was my civic education. I worked to break these barriers down, but I didn’t do it by myself, I worked with a large group of people.
Through that, I learned about the barriers that exist in political participation, where political insiders circled the wagons making rules to benefit themselves. I wanted to get involved and discovered this group called FairVote, formerly the Center for Voting and Democracy, who proposed proportional and rank choice voting to give voters more choice and more power. That’s been my gig since then.
FairVote is a non-partisan, Independent, not Conservative or Liberal. It’s for people from all walks of life, of all ages, having an opportunity to participate. The reforms we proposed have a long history in the United Sates rooted in the Voting Rights act. You have this proportional voting rights system where a political or ethnic minority can have a chance to have a voice. We were just involved with a Voting Rights Act in California where Latinos felt misrepresented or excluded in their district. We worked to propose a voting system to give more power to those voters.
If you feel excluded from politics, and you want to have more power or more choices, go to FairVote.org to find out ways to make democracy more inclusive for all people.