Four lessons I've learned, and a request

By Evan Manvel of Portland, Oregon. Evan is a long-time environmental advocate and the legislative director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. In August, he contributed "The way democracy is supposed to work."

Since junior high school, I've been working to protect the environment - this fragile spaceship we call planet earth. Over the past twenty-plus years I've learned a few things.

One key lesson: it's a hell of a lot easier to pass good laws if you have the right people in office. Hence, I'm at OLCV working to elect the best legislators, councilors, commissioners, and governors.

Another key lesson: a good vote is worth a little, a strong leader is worth a lot more. Legislators listen to their colleagues all the time, and those who earn respect can get a hell of a lot done (not to discount my brilliant lobbying, but...)

A third: money matters. We may not like it, but campaigning costs a significant amount of money - in competitive races, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Those candidates who don't have competitive races donate much of their money to those who do, creating key working relationships (and electing more pro-environment folks!).

A final lesson: it feels good to give. There's a special surge of joy, pride, satisfaction that comes when the credit card comes out and the money goes to something or someone I believe in. I feel a lot better about giving money to a cause or candidate than when I buy something.

And so, I invite you to join me in supporting Rep. Ben Cannon. Ben's the sort of leader who doesn't bend to big-money interests - he stands tall to do what is right. Ben is Oregon's strongest environmental leader in the Oregon House. He chairs the House Water and Environment Committee, leads on climate change, stood up against the highways-heavy transportation package, pushed through bills protecting our rivers and fish, and is pushing a bill in February to ban offshore oil drilling in Oregon. He was the only one of 90 legislators to get a 100% from OLCV in 2009 - but most importantly, he leads on our issues.

So, I ask you to take a stand. Take five minutes to give a little bit of green - to create a lot more. Join me in giving to Rep. Cannon's efforts to find one thousand grassroots donors who will give at least $20. If you haven't given to a candidate this year, you can give $50 and get it back on your taxes. Read more about his project at 1000twenties.com - if you have questions, let me know.

It'll feel good - I promise.

Comments

  • Friends of the Aggadors (unverified)
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    One key lesson: it's a hell of a lot easier to pass good laws if you have the right people in office.

    Undeniable, as a comparative statement. Unfortunately, it is almost always never enough to get good laws.

    Cannon has earned his stripes here, imho. Challenged and surrounding by strutting self-important peacocks, he chose to listen and get real. Highest marks from my humble self for character! I pretty much always wretch at BO begging, but this time I'll make an exception!

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    Thanks for the plug, Evan. A huge amount of the credit for our successes in 2009 goes to legislators who, facing tough re-election campaigns in competitive districts, stood up to the opposition and did the right thing for the future of Oregon. We need to be there for them in 2010, with boots on the ground and with financial support.

    And it matters how the money gets to those campaigns. Since 2002, more than 70% of the total money in legislative races has come from contributions larger than $1000. That's astonishing to me. For progressives to succeed over the long run on issues like the environment, we'll need a different model for financing campaigns. We need to broaden access to power. We need to lessen our dependence on single-issue donors. We need to ask our friends and neighbors and colleagues to contribute to a campaign, even just a few bucks, because to contribute is to engage.

    Ben Cannon State Representative 1000twenties.com

    PS - These ideas aren't mine. Anyone who knows Rep. Jefferson Smith knows that this is a point he has been making for years as the founder of the Oregon Bus Project and, now, one of the Legislature's most effective new members. Jefferson is also shooting for 1000 donors -- help him out at 1000donors.com.

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    I'm sorry, have things gotten so bad that Ben, Jefferson and verily almost all of the Portland Democratic contingent are no longer electoral locks? If this is about supporting progressives and making a difference in races, why wouldn't these be fundraising plans to help OTHER legislators, and perhaps some NON-INCUMBENTS? I love Jefferson to death, but he's at the very bottom of a long list of people who need the money. Every cycle we hear the same thing from FuturePAC--there just isn't enough to go around to truly help all the races that conceivably have a chance.

    No offense meant to Rep. Cannon whatsoever--he's one of the best in the Leg, certainly in the House. And of course he needs funding--but what he seems to need more of are votes in the desks around him, or at least better protection for more of the truly vulnerable allies at his side.

  • Perpugilliam Brown (unverified)
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    All true!

    Man, this is a good thread! Why do people insist on railing against trolls on one of the plethora of M67/68 posts, while this gem will get, oh, maybe 10 responses, if we're lucky.

    It's just not right.

    I feel a lot better about giving money to a cause or candidate than when I buy something.

    Give "xyz $$ was donated in your name to..." as xmas gifts, this year!

  • LT (unverified)
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    TJ, I think what they are saying is that there are districts which have been written off by the "sorry, lousy R to D ratio" political professionals so that districts which once had famous Democrats representing them were ignored in favor of "targets" (the debate at the national level where Dean's 50 state strategy was challenged by Rahm "we know who will win and they should get all the resources" Emanauel).

    Hooray for Ben and Jeff.

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    LT, that's what I'm saying--if I understand you right. But what it appears to me from this diary, is an appeal to contribute to Ben Cannon because he's a great Rep on the environment. Which is true, surely--but an appeal for money around Christmas in the middle of a recession better be for an awfully good cause, and the simple truth is that Ben is not in any danger of losing his next race, that I'm aware of. If someone wants to make the case that he's vulnerable for some reason, that would be a different matter.

  • Christy Splitt (unverified)
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    TJ - As Evan put it: "Those candidates who don't have competitive races donate much of their money to those who do, creating key working relationships (and electing more pro-environment folks!)."

    Ben and Jefferson are two candidates with safe seats, so they will do exactly what you are saying people should do: donate to those in less safe seats or working to take new seats in the Oregon Legislature.

    While it is a tough time financially for many Oregonians, it is also the last month in which to take advantage of the $50 tax credit for political donations for this year. So, December is not a bad time to be asking for or giving donations - and the money will do two things at once: help candidates in tough districts, and help Ben and Jeff to form relationships essential to pushing progressive policies in the Oregon House.

  • nulwee (unverified)
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    I'd love to donate to your worthy cause.

    My excuse? I've been out of work for 1 year this November, yet never collected unemployment because I couldn't qualify.

    Another thing people should be donating to save is Mount Emily. They need a pittance compared to what many conservation projects. There's an article right on Oregon Live now. At this point, if we can't even protect wilderness areas in LaGrande, Oregon as a whole is probably going to turn into another California/Washington sprawl.

  • Athropogenic Global Marxist (unverified)
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    "It'll feel good - I promise." - Evan Manvel

    Evan, I broke down into tears after reading your riveting post. All I want out of politics, all I want out of life is to feel good. I am tired of the death and hatred capitalism brings. I am tired of the rich driving SUV's spewing global warming chemicals into the air, I am tired of fast food and the meat eating conservative republican fur death culture.

    We need complete Democratic control of the entire US of A. We need to end talk radio and pull the license of FOX NEWS. Once these things are done we can begin to heal as a diverse colllective of people.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Why do people insist on railing against trolls on one of the plethora of M67/68 posts, while this gem will get, oh, maybe 10 responses, if we're lucky.

    So like management could help out and delete the fucking Antropopseudick dittohead.

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