Meet Vince

166003_627574640603180_1242824103_nRead why The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press and The Michigan Chronicle recommend voting for Vince!

Vince Keenan is a problem solver and innovator: When Vince found there was no way to lookup your polling location online, he invented it. When Detroit needed District Elections, he got them passed. He holds a US Patent. He helped New Orleans neighborhood groups reconnect post Katrina.

He is a job-creator and internet entrepreneur: Over the last 20 years he has helped start two businesses and three non-profits, all of which are still operating today. Through his non-profit Publius.org, he has provided over 6 million sample ballots to Michigan voters.

He already delivered for District 6: District elections exists because Vince helped get and keep districts on the ballot and then fought to keep them in the new charter. He re-started the Corktown Business Association and helped draft the district Community Advisory Councils.  Other candidates can talk about what they will do for District 6, Vince can talk about what he had done.

More about Vince: 

VINCE KEENAN IS A DETROITER

Vincent M. Keenan is a Corktown resident, engaged citizen, and the founder and director of Publius.org, a non-partisan organization founded in 1996 to promote civic participation and voter education.

Vince grew up in northwest Detroit. His Detroit-native parents moved the family from the south side of Chicago back to their hometown when Vince was just three-years old. The Keenans valued education, civil rights, civic participation and worked hard to give their three children a broad experience in life. Vince attended Gesu Catholic School and graduated from University of Detroit High School and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a degree in Philosophy. After living in London, England and Washington D.C., Vince moved back home to Detroit in 2001. He now lives in the same neighborhood as his great-grandfather lived for the duration of his life.

PUBLIUS, THE VOTER EDUCATION ORGANIZATION

It was a last minute dash to polls in the 1996 presidential election that became the moment of invention for Vince. After going to the wrong polling place, he decided that online voter education was the future and he was going to create a way for voters to gain non-partisan, non-biased voter information online.  He founded Publius. The goal of Publius is to promote informed civic participation by developing better tools for citizens to access information.

Publius developed the world’s first statewide website to allow residents to access It also built the State of Michigan’s first ballot generator website and wrote the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s best practices for voter information websites.

Vince has been deeply involved with and developed grassroots programs that address Digital Divide, a social issue referring to the differing amount of information between those who have access to the Internet and those who don’t.

For 17 years, Vince’s work has been to grow and pursue the idea that every educated citizen strengthens our democracy.

VINCE KEENAN IS A PASSIONATE VOTER AND COMMUNITY ADVOCATE

With a father who was a U.S. Constitutional law professor, Vince was always encouraged from a young age to believe in the power of democracy and the possibilities of elected government.

It was during high school that he began to find his calling of public service.  In college, he was elected by the Michigan Student Assembly to be the chair of the Student’s Rights Commission.

He designed ThinkDetroit’s computer recycling program, which bridged the Digital Divide of the late 1990s and give Detroit youth free computers and access to the internet. He also co-directed an Internet start-up and entrepreneurial afterschool program at Amelia Earhart Middle School and Western High School in Southwest Detroit.  In 2003, Publius created the first ever-citywide mock election with Detroit Public Schools. It was a way to foster discussion of local elections in the classroom and at home.

Publius served as fiscal agent to a post‐Katrina blog project that evolved into New Orleans’s most respected citizen newspaper.

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT VINCE

“Hail Publius: Vince Keenan is a young guy who has dedicated himself to a career in which he’ll never make much money, but, in the process, he’s created a wonderful tool for voters to educate themselves.” Jack Lessenberry, Metro Times

“Keenan is responsible for one of the best political sites focused on one geographic area, the State of Michigan…It is a one-stop shop for politics on every level from city- to state-wide elections. All candidate information for every election in every county, city and township in Michigan was provided to the 6 million registered voters in Michigan.” PoliticsOnline.com

“(Keenan) questions whether the wave of creative and entrepreneurial energy that seems to excite so many about Detroit’s future can reach critical mass without a fundamental change to the city’s governing structure.” Mlive

SELECTED PROJECTS

Citizenship Detroit – A collaborative project with former Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel, the University of Michigan‐Dearborn, Wayne State University, The Citizens Research Council and Publius that facilitates groups of 100 high‐turnout Detroit voters to a participatory budgeting activity and briefing on the current financial and political challenges.

Detroit Works Project Arts and Entrepreneurship Summits – Citywide special topic summits programmed to ensure the inclusion of artists’ and entrepreneurs’ perspectives in the DWP plan.

NOLA Project Fiscal agent for a grant to map relationships, promote citizen journalism and share useful information about reconstruction blogs in post‐Katrina New Orleans. One of the project leads, Karen Gadbois, went on to co‐found the highly acclaimed online paper The Lens. http://thelensnola.org.

Detroit Youth Technology Outreach Designed a number of programs to overcome obstacles to Internet access in the inner city, featuring a “start‐up” program to teach students to build websites for local organizations (in partnership with ThinkDetroitPAL and Focus:HOPE)

Strategist, Proposal D Committee to Elect Council by Districts – Helped lead the development of the winning strategy to collect 38,000 signatures to place districts on the ballot and the subsequent campaign to change the structure of Detroit City Council from an all at‐large council to a more representative, hybrid district system. Proposal D passed with 72% of the vote.