According to an article in The Nation (John Nichols 11/16/10) voter turnout plummeted 60% last year from the 2008 high, and if this trend continues there is no chance for our party in 2012. There just isn’t. And while it may be tempting to wallow and mourn about “how things used to be” doing so exaggerates the past, weakens the present and surrenders our future. It’s unacceptable pseudo-progress and if we are to build a strong party (and with it a more progressive state) we must refuse, resist and reform the mentality that true change comes without hard work. The problem of voter turnout is one that has plagued the politically-minded for ages and is one that will not be solved overnight, but even so it is entirely within our capacity to be changed (if not greatly alleviated) if we are willing to devote the time, energy and resources to it.
After the “shellacking” our party received in the last election, the message is clear that sometimes good ideas are electoral politics are not enough to create the change we want to see. In addition to these two things we also need a strong grassroots and for that we need strong leaders who are not afraid to go above and beyond their constitutional obligations in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. In fact, we need people like Vanessa Blomgren.
Vanessa is currently running to be the Secretary of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the only contested election (so far), and is (I believe) the most qualified individual for the job. In the time that I have known Vanessa through the Minnesota Young DFL, I have been amazed by the work she has done to help grow and improve the organization. Both engaging and dedicated to her work, I know that besides having the necessary secretarial experience, she will bring to our party benefits incalculable. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the announcement of her candidacy, which outlines her 7+ years of secretarial experience (a journey that has taken her from the college to the state level).
So as an Associate Chair (Chippewa County DFL), College Caucus Chair of the MYDFL and rural Minnesotan (Montevideo/Morris) tried and true, I know that Vanessa will make a great secretary for the party. Even if you have your reservations about Vanessa, I encourage you to talk to her yourself by visiting her campaign page here (and I encourage you to become a fan of it while you’re there) or her campaign blog here.
Don’t forget to vote on February 5!
Joshua P. Preston
Chippewa County DFL, Associate Chair
Minnesota Young DFL, College Caucus Chair