Monday, May 15, 2006

Six Questions for a Campaign Volunteer

CTVT is a lawyer who volunteers his time to both Ned Lamont and Diane Farell. He's a veteran volunteer of both local and presidential campaigns starting in 1976. Most recently CTVT volunteered for the Kerry campaign on a variety of functions including service as a protection attorney in Ohio. This interview was conducted via email.

1. What inspired you to volunteer your time to the Lamont and Farrell campaigns?

The motivation is similar for both campaigns with a different emphasis. For both, it's continuing anger, distress and concern about the condition of the country, the challenges we face and the wrong direction we're currently going in. For Farrell, it's support for a well-qualified Democrat so the Democratic Party can take back the House. Since she was Selectwoman in Westport, I have seen her work and personality up close and am quite enthusiastic about her, making it easy to call people and sing her praises. I would be voting for any non-corrupt Democrat to get the Republicans out of power, but in a less partisan environment with a less-qualified Democrat, I probably wouldn't be as active. While I am just as enthusiastic about Lamont, who I've met a couple of times, the motivation to be involved in the primary is to make a change in the Democratic Party itself. Lieberman has given aid and comfort to the enemy by cultivating a veneer of bi-partisanship that is ill-suited to the very partisan battle the Republicans are fighting. Lieberman is one of the most extreme examples of this problem, being Bush's favorite Democrat. His behavior in 2002 and since, giving Bush a blank check on Iraq and generally supporting him, has undercut the Democrat's ability to be an effective opposition. Lamont is an intelligent voice expressing plans Democrats should be following. In addition to getting a voice more representative of Connecticut voters, Lamont's victory will send a message to Washington about support for Bush and the value of the netroots.

2. What skills or education from your professional life have you found useful in volunteering? Are you learning any new skills that will come in handy in other areas of life?

First question: Being able to make persuasive arguments, both written and oral. Knowledge about policy matters to make more informed arguments.
Second question: Knowledge about how political campaigns are operated make me a more informed citizen and voter.

3. Speaking of campaigns in general how can a candidate better utilize its volunteers?

Slightly more focused training is the best way. Organizing teams of regular
campaign workers and/or more experienced volunteers with new or less
experienced volunteers could make them more effective. Following up more
frequently on expressions of interest and providing flexible and creative
ways for volunteers to help even in small ways.

4. How can campaigns better use the Internet to recruit and motivate volunteers?

Having volunteer web-pages and e-mail lists so you are targeting and
re-enforcing what makes volunteers successful.

5. Volunteering for two campaigns simultaneously gives you a unique perspective. What are some of the differences between a statewide and a district operation? How do those differences affect what activities volunteers typically do?

The Farrell campaign is a second time challenge, heavily supported by the
DCCC. Lamont is a first-time insurgent's campaign, without the support of
the Democratic establishment. While both are quite professional, Lamont's
campaign is staffed and driven by motivated volunteers, which leads to a
more enthusiastic campaign. I haven't seen any real difference in the
campaigns being state-wide or district, in that as a volunteer, my activities
are all pretty local. That was also true for the Kerry campaign except the
policy work which was broader in scope.

6. For those who might be interested in the Farrell or Lamont campaigns how would you suggest getting involved?

Go to the web-sites and campaign events to volunteer. Outreach to your
neighbors, getting them enthusiastic about the candidate, and getting them
out to vote or an absentee ballot are the best activities a volunteer can do.

Thanks to everyone who has offered to be interviewed. I was expecting three or four responses but as of today I'm up to twelve and they're still coming in. If I haven't gotten back to you yet it's because I'm running a bit behind. I won't be able to interview everyone, but you should hear from me either way this week.


TrueBlueCT said...

Great Stuff! Keep it coming.

I'd volunteer for my own interview, but the meat of it would be identical to CTVT's. (only less well-articulated.) said...

CGG- Its great people volunteer. I volunteer. I would imagine that most of the people on this blog volunteer...but its convention week...

I want scoops (like the Destefano LG announcement is at midnight tonight) and gossip (like Audrey Blondin is switching to Malloy with most of her delegation) and LG pick rumors (Rell is taking her son on an all Rell ticket!) and crazy posts about Lamont delegates (I hear they are going to sway the Republican convention into choosing the crazy immigration guy so Lieberman's point about an R getting in is moot)!

Big White Seagulll said...

Strietz by a landslide