Electing Our Movement

About a year before the 2008 elections, I had a conversation with a fellow organizer to the effect of “wouldn’t it be amazing if we had smart young people all over the country running for office on climate and energy?”  That idea gradually morphed into the Power Vote campaign, which sought to mobilize young voters in support of strong climate and energy candidates.

But that original vision still remains unfulfilled.

In the last four years, our movement is has grown bigger, more diverse and more experienced.  So why aren’t we running for office?

It won’t be easy (neither is stopping a coal plant).  We may be new at this (same with creating sustainable communities).  But unless we take a risk and try something a little crazy, our communities will be stuck with the same candidates as usual.

I have a couple of theories why we aren’t seeing a wave of young people running for office: we tend to move around a lot; we are worried older folks won’t take us seriously; campaigns can cost money and most of us don’t have a lot of savings; some people don’t want to work from “inside the system.”  The reasons (excuses) for not running for office could go on and on.  But ultimately few climate organizers are running for office because we just haven’t stepped up to do it.

To help us figure out how to overcome those barriers and make successful runs for public office, a national conference call will be hosted by 350.org, Energy Action Coalition, Young People For, the Front Line Leaders Academy, and the Young Elected Officials for young climate organizers interested in running for office.

The call will be Wednesday, July 27th at 4:30pm EDT.  We’re asking you to RSVP for call details (and so that we can send you follow up resources easily).

Running for office may be a big (but surprisingly simple) decision, but it is one that we should start preparing for now.  Join the call and get started.

About Juliana

Juliana Williams grew up in Washington state and began organizing at Whitman College in 2004, working to get her campus to purchase renewable energy. She volunteered with the Sierra Student Coalition and help found the Cascade Climate Network. Following that, she lived in Iowa for two years, working as the SSC's Great Plains Organizer with amazing students in MN, IA, MO, NE and SD. After working with the Breakthrough Institute she is now pursuing her Master of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. She is an avid ultimate player, plays string bass and spends way too much time on wikipedia.

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