As a zoology major Nicole Klein learned that when sea turtles hatch, they instinctively turn to the horizon. That leads them straight to the ocean.
In the aftermath of November’s election, she felt similarly impelled. But it was not until Christmas — when she had a chance to take a break from her very demanding full-time job — that she understood exactly what she had to do.
So she served notice to her employer, McKinsey. Today she devotes herself full time to grassroots political activism.
Klein loved McKinsey. The consulting firm encourages personal growth into new areas of the company, and she’d taken full advantage. After 17 years, Klein had worked her way up to global event manager.
But — like those sea turtles — Klein followed her destiny.
She’d been involved in political campaigns from 1992 to 2004. In 2008 she fell in love. “I didn’t care about anything else,” she laughs.
Klein got married, had a child, moved to Westport. In the run-up to this year’s election — as she worked hard for Hillary Clinton — she wanted her 6-year-old son to see what involvement looked like. She brought him to her phone bank shifts.
In the weeks after the election — but before her resignation from McKinsey — Klein grew more active.
She attended Westport Democratic Town Committee meetings. She volunteered as a bus captain for the Women’s March on Washington.
Klein calls that event “one of the 5 best days of my life. It was so powerful to see everyone come together peacefully. It wasn’t a protest — it was a unifying moment.”
Now Klein is putting her event planning talents to work on another project. It’s an informational session on changing the way Connecticut casts its electoral votes for president.
Set for this Thursday (March 2, 7 p.m.) in the Westport Country Playhouse barn, the “State of Voting: CT Debates a New Way to Elect the President” panel includes New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg. It’s part of a move to have our state join 11 others whose legislatures have agreed to let its electors vote for the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.
The idea is that all votes cast nationwide for president will count equally — without abolishing the Electoral College. Under the current method, voters in Connecticut — and other almost-certain blue or red states — are easily ignored.
Of nearly 400 events during the 2016 general election, 94% were held in just 12 battleground states. Only 1 was held in the Constitution State.
Organizers of National Popular Vote CT — including Westporters John Hartwell and Rozanne Gates — call the concept one of fairness. Citizens of every state should have their vote weighed equally, they say.
The project’s leaders also point to surveys that show 3/4 of Connecticut’s voters — including a majority of Republicans — believe the candidate who gets the most votes in the country should become president.
Thursday’s event is non-partisan, Klein says. “We want people to hear the issues, and make up their own minds.”
She hopes for a large turnout at the Playhouse. And when that’s done, she’ll turn her attention to the next activity.
“Not one day goes by that I regret resigning,” Klein says. Every day she feels more excited about being part of the democratic — with a small “d” — process.
In her own way, she’s making sure America stays great.
(“The State of Voting: CT Debates a New Way to Elect the President” — at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 in the Westport Country Playhouse barn — is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westport and National Popular Vote CT. The event is free, but seats must be reserved. Click here, email email@example.com, or call 203-227-4177. Video of the event will be available on Facebook Live at NationalPopularVoteCT, and afterward on www.npvct.com)