Morgan Harper has begun her Bitcoin learning trajectory. The 38-year-old Senate Candidate for Ohio is researching opportunities that the decentralized monetary network can bring to her constituents, namely a push for the decentralization of power — which she believes is overdue.
“One of the greatest problems in our society is too much power centralized in too few hands, which produces anticompetitive effects that entrench incumbents and prevent innovation,” Harper told Bitcoin Magazine. “It shifts power to a select few, large cities and a few dominant players within each market and away from people in states such as Ohio.”
The progressive democrat entered the U.S. Senate race in August, seeking the seat held by Rob Portman, a Republican senator who announced in January that he wouldn’t seek reelection for a third term in 2022. Harper is up against Tim Ryan, a longtime democratic congressman who has served 10 terms and leads in name recognition and campaign funding.
Harper was born to a teenage mother and lived in a foster home for almost a year before being adopted and raised by a public school teacher. She graduated from Stanford Law School and served as a senior policy advisor at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In a November 9 thread on Twitter, Harper explained that she first heard about Bitcoin during her time at the CFPB. Her curiosity has since increased, and the candidate has begun realizing Bitcoin’s potential as a tool for individual financial empowerment.
“I'm intrigued by the concept of decentralized networks, where we can have the benefits of network effects without concentrating power in the hands of a few people or corporations,” Harper said, adding that so far she has “mostly focused on Bitcoin and its potential to disintermediate banks and to serve as a store of value.”
Harper said that for her state, Bitcoin could help create economic power and freedom for individuals so that the people of Ohio are less reliant on “outsized corporations that stifle growth and innovation in a system rigged in their favor.”
Bitcoin has been very appealing to underserved communities in countries like El Salvador and Nigeria, where clumsy and unequal financial systems prevent many people from obtaining even the most basic access to money and banking. The peer-to-peer (P2P) monetary network aims to restore financial sovereignty by enabling anyone to store and transact value, irrespective of gender, skin color or power status.
“By contrast, traditional banks put you at the mercy of arbitrary and often discriminatory policies,” Harper said. “The banks are set up to favor the rich, with preferred access and preferred terms. But a lot of working class people and Ohioans don't get those benefits. Instead, they get hidden overdraft fees and almost no return on their capital.”
Harper’s interest led her to embark on a listening tour, seeking to learn more about what government officials could do to help promote innovation through public policies while also protecting investors. Although she is interested in Bitcoin and its potential, Harper said she does not hold BTC as she seeks to work without an investment bias.
“Politicians who buy and sell financial assets while wielding immense influence across sectors undermine our democracy and fuel people's distrust in the political process,” she said. “I want to get the law right for this asset class for the people of Ohio, not because I stand to gain financially.”
Harper will face Ryan in the Democratic primary on May 3, 2022. Voters will elect only one member to the U.S. Senate from Ohio in the general election, which is scheduled for November of next year.