Last night's Arise-sponsored workshop for ward representation candidates and their supporters drew about twenty people and I must say I was impressed. Every candidate had a solid reason for running: increasing public safety, more government accountability, creating a better climate for small businesses, opposition to Longhill Gardens. I didn't agree with every position every candidate took, but one thing really stood out: every candidate there really believes he/she can make a difference.
Avi Green from MassVOTE led the workshop-- he's funny, experienced and a good teacher. Former Council member Carol Lewis-Caulton talked about what it took to put a winning campaign together, and why she thought she didn't win a second term: supporting a challenger to a popular mayor didn't help. I talked a bit about the history of winning ward representation and admitted what a disincentive it would have been if we'd known when we started that it was going to take thirteen years.
Several of our candidates are in their twenties, and they reminded me of what it's like when you are young enough not to recognize the limits to change-- that's the way change is made, by not recognizing limits!
There were several community organizers in the room. While a candidate's role is to target the people who most often vote, our role is to get the folks who are least likely to vote to get more involved. As a non-profit, Arise doesn't endorse candidates, but working to register and turn people out to participate is a core part of our mission.
It's going to be an exciting election season.