NOPE Notes March 18, 2019
New Members - Introduction to NOPE
Kathy led the introduction to NOPE for six first-time attendees to NOPE. She gave a summary of NOPE’s history, our strategy for flipping seats from Republican to Democrat, our past activities, and what to expect in 2019. Attendees asked about the kitchen cabinet, our partnership with Swing-Left, and the beneficiaries of Neighbors Rising.
Welcome and Introduction
Joanna welcomed everyone, introduced the evening’s agenda and asked the crowd to identify themselves by where they live.
NOPE Priorities for 2019
Giving Circle - Voter Access and Empowerment
Debra summarized NOPE’s fundraising in 2017-2018 and spoke about our priorities in 2019. Hosts of the April gatherings stood and gave dates and a brief description of their planned events. Sign-up sheets were circulated. Debra emphasized that the gatherings were to learn from and share with each other. She also gave updates on fundraising for Fair Fight, our new target DC Vote and spoke about future activities for VA House of Delegates and Senate races. Finally, Debra introduced upcoming NOPE webinars to help other groups focus and expand efforts for political organizing. She encouraged everyone to let her know of anyone who may be interested.
Carol reviewed the results of a survey sent to 105 people who canvassed with NOPE in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2018. About a third responded, with nearly half having canvassed more than three times. A key question asked for suggestions about how canvassing arrangements could be improved to encourage individuals to canvass more. A theme emerging from the suggestions was that the campaigns could do a better job at launch sites, to include, for example: 1) streamlining the on-site orientation so experienced canvassers can get out to knock doors sooner and 2) providing NOPE with turf that maximizes our efficiency, given that we’re carpooling together from distances that are an hour or more away. A couple of people mentioned that campaigns should be encouraged to continue making paper walk packets an option for canvassers. A suggestion that NOPE expects to take up this year is to create a best practices list. Cathy Sunshine, Liz McNichol, and Dale Kaufman were introduced as members who will help train or lead canvassers in 2019.
Advancing Local Priorities
Jean welcomed all to attend RJWG meetings and introduced the subject of the next meeting. The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless will present on the displacement of Brookland Manor residents in NE DC. She also invited everyone to sign up for emails even if they cannot attend all of the meetings.
Jeannie introduced Neighbors Rising as a “simple operation with a big impact” and explained how it supports the Latin American Youth Center and Identity. She spoke about the upcoming LAYC gala and the ways to contribute.
Betty said that 9 attendees at the February NOPE meeting signed up to receive info on Herd events. While no new NOPEsters were available for the next event, Herd on the Hill had a good turnout to deliver letters to Senators midday on March 14. Kevin Mulshine and Betty delivered more than 110 letters and shamrock messages, the dominant issue in most was non-support of Trump’s Emergency Act. Later that afternoon, the Senate passed the resolution against his state of emergency. She explained how the group works and invited others to participate.
DC Vote – Barbara Helmick
Jacqui spoke about the importance of DC statehood, suggested that tactics used in Virginia campaigns might be applied to DC statehood, and then introduced Barbara Helmick.
Barbara first said that the strategy was to “win and not to get closer” to statehood. She gave a history of DC’s efforts from 1993 under the Clinton administration through the campaign in 2007 to get a vote in the House. She explained the fundraising effort in 2015 which comprised of canvassing house-to-house with paid staff and the change in strategy – the goal of statehood rather than a vote in the House and push-back on congressional overreach. She described coordination with the mayor’s office and the specific focus on meeting the criteria for statehood. To date, 201 House Democrats and 30 Senators have signed onto HR 51. DC Vote’s goal is to get co-sponsorship from 90% of the House and Senate.
Barbara closed her presentation by telling us that the way to talk about DC statehood is by talking about voter suppression and that the progressive candidates we support in 2019 should be clearly on board.