Guest post from Chelsea Lepley
Progressives in Iowa and around the country have taken note of the energy and enthusiasm of citizen gatherings, the size of which has not been seen in the lifetimes of many of the people who have come together to march, protest and speak out for an America at risk.
Iowans are calling members of Congress and state legislators, packing town halls, crowding the rotunda, and encouraging one another to run for office.
Now comes the hard work. It’s time to capture the momentum of these recent political moments – and ensure they have the longevity of movements. It’s time to recapture momentum for progressives. We can’t just communicate, organize, and campaign – we have to do it well. We have to win.
The nation’s premier grassroots activist training network, Camp Wellstone, launches its national organizing effort for 2017 the weekend of March 17th through 19th in Des Moines. Iowa will be first in the nation when it comes to developing and deploying a network of highly-trained, prepared activists ahead of this year’s municipal elections and next year’s state and federal elections.
Named for the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, the program trains candidates, campaign workers, and organizers how to win progressive change. It has more than 50,000 alumni in all 50 states. The approach is proven, effective, inclusive and inspiring. It draws on Wellstone’s distinctive approach to politics with three important elements: progressive public policy, which lays out an agenda for action; grassroots community organizing, which builds a constituency to fight for change; and grassroots electoral politics, which provides tools for changing what leadership looks like and how to influence policymakers.
The interest level for the Des Moines camp is high and slots are filling quickly. Registration for Iowa residents can be found through our Facebook event, and at www.wellstone.org/camp-wellstone-iowa-residents.
There are other ways you can help train the next generation of Iowa activists:
Choose to sponsor a worthy Iowa activist. Camp Wellstone’s standard tuition is $450, but several private donors have contributed to lower costs to $100 for some participants. Ideally, cost would not be a factor for people ready to take their organizing (or prospective campaign) up a notch. We’ll celebrate our partners throughout the weekend.
Join us Saturday, March 18th at 7 p.m. at the Des Moines Social Club. The Political Party is hosting an event featuring an influential Iowa Democrat as guest speaker. Camp Wellstone participants will be part of this kickoff for the next great Iowa progressive movement.
Politics should be about improving people’s lives. That’s the kind of politics Paul Wellstone embodied: one in which we all do better when we all do better. And with a radical, resurgent conservative movement on the rise, it’s the kind of politics we need now more than ever.
Contact Chelsea@veragosolutions.com with questions or for further information about being a sponsor.
by Chelsea Lepley