Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Election 2010 underway + using campaign lit to your benefit

The 2010 campaign has gained steam in the past 24 hours with mainstream media coverage.

Yesterday came the announcement of the Draft Clark Ray for DC Council-at-Large Committee.   Outlets like the Examiner highlight committee supporters such as Cora Masters Barry (no more details needed!) and Laurie Collins (resident advocate in Mount Pleasant and campaigner in the Fenty mayoral campaign).   But note that those long involved in community work, much in the nonprofit sector, including Kim L.E. Bell and Pat Fisher, as well as society page residents like Simone Green, are also members of the committee boosting Clark.   Media reports -- from the Washington Blade to the WCP City Desk blog to the aforementioned Washington Examiner have more on the whys and wherefores of the campaign, whether Clark will be taking on fellow Dem Phil Mendelson or Independent David Catania.   Details about the candidate, campaign, etc. are on the draft Ray site.

Also out yesterday was the Brookland Heartbeat, an all-volunteer community newspaper that began in June 2005 to provide local news of interest to residents and businesses in greater Brookland, which included a piece on CM Michael Brown.   Councilmember Michael Brown Eyes 2010 Mayoral Race is all about how the CM believes that "Mayor Adrian Fenty for leading the District in the wrong direction."   (If you have not already signed up to receive notices of the latest edition of the BH, do so today -- details are on the Web site.)

Other candidates' names are being bandied about by Loose Lips and in DC Watch's themail.

Susie's commentary on the democratic practice of fair and open elections and not the candidates themselves:   During my 11 years at DC Action for Children and since that time, I have encouraged nonprofits to pay close attention to local political campaigns and to use them as an advocacy tool.   In my view, "paying attention" is more than voter guides and candidate fora.   To me, "paying attention" means reading the paper (and now blogs, etc.) everyday for quotes and position statements from candidates.   It means collecting this information (quotes, position papers from campaign Web sites) in a methodical way and then using the information when necessary.   What does "using" mean?   Things like:

  • Asking for clarification on statements made/positions taken
  • Following the election, in a letter of introduction/congratulations/call it what you like, reminding them of the promises made
  • Using the statements/positions throughout the elected officials' tenure as a reminder of promises made, as leverage to ensure commitments are kept, etc.
  • In the event rallies or protests are your thing, putting quotes on signs and banners
  • Using the information in reports, analyses, testimony, op-eds, letters to the editor
  • Using campaign literature, etc. to inform your advocacy approach if the person is elected

If your staff is too busy to do this collection work -- which I have to say I don't accept if the work is important enough to you -- it is a terrific gig for volunteers.

Have you used campaign literature, candidate quotes in other ways?   Please share with me and I will post here.

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