Empowering Leadership, the new article series for leadership development, by Del Albright -- helping to lead volunteers to victory!
POLITICS: HOW DOES ONE GET INVOLVED?
2008 Elections Coming Soon -- Read what to do...so much at stake in 2008
Supporting your elected officials is critical if you ever expect to change anything. How do you support them? Well, they will always remember two kinds of folks:
1. Those who get them votes; and
2. Those who help raise money.
The first step is to pick up the phone and call your local office of your elected official, introduce yourself, and ask them to put you on their email and/or mailing list for land use/access and public lands issues. Get on their newsletter list also (if they have one). Ask if they have a campaign platform that is published that you can look at (web site, hard copy, etc.). More here.
The second step is to write a hand written (or typed if you want) nice letter to your elected officials telling them what you believe in and what you want them to vote for when they vote on your behalf (like multiple use of public lands, continuned access to public lands, no more lock ups and gates in yoru area, etc.).
Next, getting votes is a great way to help your candidate get in office. You can volunteer to make calls or stuff envelopes or whatever your time allows (assuming we want this person in office). The important thing is that you are contributing sweat to the campaign. You can round up donations (no matter how small) and hand them over to the politician and say "this is from my crowd of recreationists."
Here's a note from my friend and partner, John Stewart, Director of Environmental Affairs for United Four Wheel Drive Association (9/3/02):
"San Diego and Imperial Counties have been represented by one individual that has been a friend of recreation: Duncan Hunter. For those not in tune with the southland, Imperial County is home to the Glamis San Dunes, also known as Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
The area is a very popular recreation area and is a prime target for the wilderness advocates. Duncan Hunter has stood up to the wilderness advocates and represented recreation.
The problem is, redistricting has caused some changes. Duncan Hunter no longer represents Imperial County and the sand dunes area. That area has been annexed to Bob Filner's district. Filner is one of the more liberal of liberal Democrats in the House. He is not a friend of recreation. His constituents are the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity.
Some of you may wonder why a 4-wheeler should be concerned with the sand-buggy and ATV area. Well, Imperial County is also the location of Truckhaven Hills. If you have heard of Tierra del Sol Desert Safari, that is Truckhaven. It is one of the premier 4-wheeling spots left in the state.
So, the stakes are high for this election cycle. Every Republican candidate elected (or re-elected) is a plus for recreation.
Boxer has introduced her vision of California Wilderness in the Senate. That "vision" is not expected to advance; however, it will never go away.
Three representatives from California have introduced their version of the overall Boxer Wilderness proposal. Together, these three bills encompass more area than the Boxer bill. They will not go away.
There are two critical points that must succeed in the November election:
Pro-Access folks must retain control of the House.
Pro-Access folks must regain control of the Senate.
Neither is a direct boon to motorized recreation. Both are necessary to preserve what we have.
Finally, if you are not registered to vote, please do not delay: REGISTER TO VOTE."
Getting involved is not a hard thing to do. A small check that goes in a pile of other small checks, that's presented to your politician from your crowd can really make a difference. Voting and getting your friends to vote goes without saying. Campaigning for your candidate makes a lasting impression on anyone running for office.
Please keep these ideas in mind. It's a good way for us to make a difference in the long run.
More on John Stewart:
Director, Environmental Affairs, UFWDA, http://www.ufwda.org. Recreation Access and Conservation Editor, http://www.4x4wire.com
Webmaster, Tierra del Sol 4x4: http://www.tds4x4.com
Webmaster, Jeep-L: http://www.jeep-l.net
Be part of the nationwide SEMA network to stay informed and help protect our access. Click here
See the new Recreational Leadership Training Course for Volunteers!
10 Module Correspondence Course with over 200 pages of tips and tricks for leading volunteers. Developed by Del Albright
It's all about Leading Volunteers to Victory!
Learn More and Sign Up Here