Why settle for the leadership we have, when we can groom the leaders we need?
Deutsch Foundation team members attended a workshop on Sunday, February 26 supporting a new kind of political leadership, one that puts working people first.
Maryland Working Families hosted a training session at Open Works, to empower a cadre of “Scouts” to find potential candidates that represent our values. This highly interactive workshop challenged us to come up with a shared vision for what we want to see in our next leaders, and we discussed how to recruit them.
Maryland Working Families is a grassroots independent political organization fighting for a government that represents the values and works for the needs of Maryland’s working families. Maryland Working Families achieves our goals by: developing and electing candidates who share our values; organizing issue campaigns to move progressive legislation; and building a movement of working families to hold our leaders accountable. Maryland Working Families is affiliated with the national Working Families Organization and this workshop was produced in conjunction with Wellstone, a national advocacy organization created by late senator Paul Wellstone’s sons that offers training for progressive candidates.
In September 2015, Wellstone partnered with MDWF, Emerge and a committee of Baltimore leaders and Wellstone alumni to hold a candidate and campaign management training in Baltimore. “We went to every advocacy group that was doing work around the city and asked them to identify five people to come to the training,” explains Charly. RSVPs flooded in.
In the summer of 2016, after the primary, Wellstone and Working Families MD partnered with Local Progress to offer training and support those progressive candidates who had won the primary and were on the ballot in November. The five candidates who signed up became part of a New Leaders Cohort that participated in monthly governance trainings.
The group worked on building relationships within the community, reaching out to organizations that are working within their districts. And, they are working on policy, thinking long-term about a shared vision for Baltimore.
Eight new council members were elected to the Baltimore City Council in November. Six of those were Wellstone alum.
After this initial workshop at Open Works, which hosted around thirty individuals, we feel more aware of our goals for political leadership, more aware of the resources available to potential candidates via Maryland Working Families, Wellstone, and others, and more determined to bring about needed political changes in the future.
Bibliography: Ready for New Leadership in Baltimore, published by Wellstone by Rachel Weeks December 16, 2016.