By William Street, Jr.
One important goal of the Clackamas County Democrats’ Neighborhood Leader Program is to mitigate the influence of money in politics. The program intends to achieve this objective by substituting one-on-one, face-to-face contacts established over a number of years for money that buys ads and attempts to educate and inform or misinform voters.
By establishing a neighborhood leader for every 40 Democratic voters in a neighborhood, the neighborhood leaders become a sustainable and permanent army of advocates for social justice and democracy.
Today the effectiveness of this program is amazing. Voters living in areas with a neighborhood leader have significantly higher voter turnout and elect more progressive candidates than voters in areas without a neighborhood leader. The Neighborhood Leader Program is a major reason that Clackamas County is now a much more progressive place than it was five years ago. Continue reading
The appreciation was obvious as applause filled the room. At last month’s Democratic Central Committee meeting, Neighborhood Leaders who volunteered for the special election were recognized for the work they did to make this Special District election one of the best in recent memory.
In contested seats for school boards, water and sewer districts, fire districts, and other positions, candidates endorsed by the county Democratic Party won 8 out of 11 seats.
One reason for this was the tireless work of those involved in the Neighborhood Leader Program. During the Special Election, Neighborhood Leaders knocked on doors, talked to their neighbors about politics, dropped off slate cards, and phoned to GOTV. Continue reading
Clackamas Democrats have confirmed what experts say is the best way to win an election — with face-to-face visits with voter by volunteers. Consider the simple facts:
- Ken Humberston defeated incumbent Tootie Smith for a County Commission seat after she earned 47 percent of the vote in a three-way primary. Humberston beat her by some 1,600 votes. That was in November.
- Martha Spiers was elected to the Oregon City School District Board on May 16. She also took out an incumbent.
- Dylan Hydes and Ginger Fitch won election for two open seats on the West Linn-Wilsonville School District Board.
- Kathy Wai, in the same election, was chosen by voters for a place on the North Clackamas School Board.
- Irene Konev also won her election, this one for the Clackamas Community College Board.
- Sara Pocklington unseated a 10-year incumbent in her election to the Lake Oswego School Board.
The Secret to Saner Elections? Stronger State Parties.
That was the headline in a recent L.A. times Op-Ed. by the chair of the California Republican Party! I couldn’t agree more. The writer — a Brookings Institution senior fellow — made another point worth noting: rumors of state parties’ death are greatly exaggerated. That is certainly true in Oregon because strong state and county parties are what kept Oregon blue in 2014. And compared to the GOP, who I often refer to as the “Grumpy Old Party,” we need you to stay connected to us and help us win in the 2016 election. Continue reading
The chair of Clackamas County Republican Party recently wrote, “It’s fun to discuss Presidential politics, but we have work to do, right here, right now.” Boy! Have they got that right! Somehow I don’t think their work with their mindset is going to change the outcome. That said, we too have work to do in Clackamas County.
While presidential politics seems to dominate the news day and night, I admit I did not watch either of the Republican presidential debates. It seemed not only ridiculous but also disturbing to see candidates not discussing issues but going after one another, trying to catch up to the number one candidate, who does not need to be named. And several have no experience whatsoever to govern or know what it is to negotiate and compromise. The thought that a bully would be in charge of our country is scary! Continue reading