Authored on October 17, 2019
Katherine Gehl

Minneapolis (October 17, 2019) — Amid “dysfunction and drama in our political system,” former corporate CEO and electoral reformer Katherine Gehl spoke to a crowd of over 100 community leaders and concerned citizens  at Modern Well in Minneapolis on October 14 about the urgent need for structural political reform.  

“So much talk about politics is connected to daily drama, and it keeps us from understanding and solving the root causes,” she said. “Our system has become designed to advance partisan interests and ideology rather than practical solutions."

Gehl, who was here last year with colleague Harvard business professor Michael Porter, sees the core issue as a lack of political competition. Known for her pioneering work in the business world, she and Porter examined the similarities between our broken political system and out-dated business models that become uncompetitive and advocate for simple, yet far-reaching reforms like Ranked Choice Voting. 

RCV eliminates “spoilers,” making it viable for third party candidates to compete and ensuring winners can’t take office without the support of a true majority of votes, she said. In turn, RCV “incentivizes” officeholders to compromise on behalf of the whole electorate instead governing to their base. 

Gehl also advocates for open primaries gives all voters a reason to turnout for primaries and allowing a top field of 5 candidates to advance to the General Election. 

Women Leading Democracy Forward with Katherine Gehl was hosted by Minnesota Representative Kelly Morrison, former General Mills executive Kim Nelson and community leader Karla Ekdahl. 

“We depend on our elected officials to provide us with sustaining bipartisan solutions to complex issues like health care, education, infrastructure and  immigration. If our political system doesn’t work, it is time we tried something new, said Nelson, a business leader and strong advocate for Ranked Choice Voting. 

Rep. Morrison, a co-sponsor of the Ranked Choice Voting Local Options bill, said that RCV is appealing because it creates consensus building politics and it’s good for democracy,” expressing her excitement to “stand alongside these remarkable women to support FairVote MN and Ranked Choice Voting.”

In addition to Rep. Morriosn, Representatives Steve Elkins, Ray Dehn and Frank Hornstein and Minneapolis Councilmember Linea Palmisano who were also in attendance. 

FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey shared an update on the progress of RCV in Minnesota and around the country: RCV is used in dozens of cities across the country and in Maine for state and federal elections -- and for presidential races starting next year! New York City is poised to pass RCV on Nov. 5 this year.  In Minnesota, is thriving Minneapolis and St. Paul and has its debut in St. Louis Park this year. Four more cities -- Bloomington, Minnetonka, Red Wing and Rochester -- are poised for passage next year on the ballot. We are working to pass legislation to make it possible for all cities, counties and school districts to adopt RCV if they wish, and laying the groundwork for statewide RCV over the next two years. “Now is our time,” she said. 

We’re honored that Gehl’s return visit to Minnesota was on FairVote Minnesota’s behalf – and we hope it won’t be his last! 

See full photo gallery of the evening.

View video of the presentation
Thanks to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to event co-hosts Rep Kelly Morrison, Kim Nelson, Karla Ekdahl, Blanche Hawkins, Penny George, Chelle Stoner, Molly Rice, Robin Hartwell and Molly Sullivan.