Full Text: Michael Branco’s Election Speech

September 11, 2011

Last night’s [Sept.10] OBA Leadership Election saw three people vying for the two Deputy Chair positions; Michael Branco earned 516 votes, with former UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden receiving 505 votes, and gym owner Karen Magnum garnering 258 votes.

The founder of Fireminds Ltd and now Senior Vice President of Ignition, Mr Branco obtained his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Western Ontario, pursued graduate studies in Computer Science at Stanford University and earned his MBA from Richard Ivey Business School.

Mr Branco focused much of his speech on using technology, saying: “It is vital that we have direct lines of communication with young voters who get their information through Facebook, Twitter, text messages; and even the live video stream of this speech tonight, which is being broadcast on the internet.”

“We are also demonstrating change by offering secure, online votes to enable people overseas to participate in tonight’s votes for the OBA leadership team,” Mr Branco noted.

Mr Branco is pictured below [on the right] with newly elected leader Craig Cannonier and Jeanne Atherden:

OBA Elections  Bermuda September 10 2011-1-7

“I would like to see more use of technology within Government to create efficiencies that help reduce our national debt and streamline interaction between people and their government,” said Mr Branco.

“Bermuda is an ideal testing ground for new technologies, and as we continue to be thrust into the global era, technology will help give Bermuda the edge it needs to better serve its residents and its customers.”

You can read the Mr Branco’s speech below, and watch it on the video replay here. It starts at approximately 14 minutes into the video, drag the bottom bar to fast forward.

Mr Branco’s full speech follows below:

As you consider your vote for two of the three Deputy Chair candidates standing before you tonight, I want to highlight how much hard work and dedication Karen Magnum and Jeanne Atherden have put into the OBA over the past four months.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue working with Karen & Jeanne in our service to Bermuda. They have worked around the clock to ensure that all of you signed up as members – they are the drive in our membership drive – and I’ve watched their daily efforts as they put the OBA under strain as nearly a thousand memberships have come through our website.

Equally, the interim executive, my teammates, have worked relentless hours with drive and determination to make the OBA a reality within four short months. And for that I would like us to publicly acknowledge their hard work.

My role as interim Deputy Chair has been slightly different over the past four months, most of my time has been spent jiggling computer cables, building websites and helping some of our more technically challenged representatives master their Blackberry or iPhone.

I hope to continue my work as one of the elected Deputy Chairs for the OBA, serving as the technologist to ensure that all of the IT systems we need are in place. It is vital that we have direct lines of communication with young voters who get their information through Facebook, Twitter, text messages; and even the live video stream of this speech tonight, which is being broadcast on the internet.

We are also demonstrating change by offering secure, online votes to enable people overseas to participate in tonight’s votes for the OBA leadership team.

Furthermore, I would like to see more use of technology within Government to create efficiencies that help reduce our national debt and streamline interaction between people and their government. Bermuda is an ideal testing ground for new technologies, and as we continue to be thrust into the global era, technology will help give Bermuda the edge it needs to better serve its residents and its customers.

If we are to demonstrate the change for Bermuda that we have been urging since our party’s inception, then I would like to be a part of the OBA team by helping us utilize the tools of technology that can bring about change.

I should add, if I am not successful in earning your vote for Deputy Chair tonight, I promise not to turn off the internet until after the election.

I became involved in politics because of my strong sense of service towards our community. I am also involved because of the inspiration given to me by biggest mentor, my father.

My father grew up in Dock Hill with nothing except his 14 brothers and sisters. The Brancos worked hard to put a roof over their head and food on the table. My father graduated from high school and became one of the first Portuguese speaking tellers at Butterfield Bank. He worked hard for 40+ years to earn himself a place in senior management before he retired.

During that time, he worked hard to ensure that my sister & I had the means to receive a good education and the temperament to learn the lessons of life. He wanted us to understand the value of hard work and honesty. My mother worked equally as hard to provide us a strong home and foundation to chase our life’s dreams.

So when you ask why I am involved in politics, it is because I want to give back to Bermuda as much as I can, because Bermuda has given my family so much opportunity. I want to ensure the same opportunity for all residents of Bermuda.

I make the time for those things that are important to me, my wife, my job and my country. I deliberately say those in order of priority because my wife and my job give me the support and means to serve my country, and I must admit I need to mention my wife first because at a minimum I need to earn Polina’s vote tonight.

You have asked for the next generation of Bermudians to step forward to take responsibility for the future of our country. You have asked for change. You have asked for those who step forward to have honesty and integrity. You have asked that they utilize their education to ensure Bermuda has its place in the modern world. You ask that we protect everything beautiful about Bermuda, particularly her people. You asked and I have answered that call.

Please vote Branco for Deputy Chair. Thank you and have a wonderful evening.

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  1. Hopeful says:

    Branco – Congrats! You represent a new wave of thinking and are an inspiration to our young adult Bermudians/Portuguese-Bermudian community. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future.