Recruitment starts NOW (and never really stops)

~Jordan Applewhite, co-vice chair of Northern Grafton County Dems.

If you’d like to not just follow politics as a spectator, but also get involved in making change, then the most outsized impact you can have for the least amount of effort is in recruiting. You would not believe the number of seats we have to fill each cycle… Even though we offer support and training, races go uncontested every single year across the North Country simply because we don’t have enough prospects.

We need to think about recruiting beyond scrambling to fill state rep seats in the months before filing period. This is a year-round effort. We want to build a deep bench of talent not just for state and county races, but for town races, appointed positions, and even nonprofit boards. Building the communities we deserve means considering the impact of all of these different pieces and how they work together. A state rep has one vote out of 400 in Concord, but an appointed planning board member can start working right now to modernize outdated zoning restrictions that have led us to a shortage of starter homes and, subsequently, a labor shortage. Library trustee may seem like an uncontroversial position until a national hate group starts a chapter in our town and librarians start receiving harassing phone calls about which books they should ban.

We [Democrats] could not identify a willing school board candidate in Littleton, but Senator Carrie Gendreau’s husband ran for and won one of the seats. That single household now controls a state senate seat, a select board seat, and a school board seat. We believe democracy works best when we include a variety of voices and perspectives rather than allowing authority to be concentrated inside a few powerful families.

Even if you aren’t able to join a town committee or run for state rep yourself, ask yourself if you know anyone who can. Who are your local role models? Who are the natural leaders in your friend group? All we need is a name and a contact, and we can handle the rest. If you’re so inclined, we’d love for you to join our recruitment committee as we build lists of local talent and train them in winning elections so we can make a more inclusive, resilient North Country.