Friday, June 1, 2012

Fwd: My Story

This is how real, national, generational change begins: with quiet determination and perseverance
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American Majority
Dear Friend,
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself sitting in the back of the room at our training in Elmira, New York listening to Martin Gillespie, our northeast regional director, train nearly 70 people on the tactics of door-to-door canvassing I had given the day’s first lesson and was preparing for my next lecture when I started checking my Twitter and email accounts and realized that American Majority was actually doing five trainings that day, from California to Florida to New York to Ohio to Illinois.
In all honesty, that realization was a pleasant surprise to me. I then realized that that day in Elmira marked American Majority’s 600th training session, with the overwhelming majority taking place in less than three years. I also realized that as of that day, American Majority had trained over 21,000 people (and by trained, we don’t mean merely talking to people about ideas, but actually giving them, at a minimum, three hours of nuts and bolts training). We also passed another milestone: the training of our 2,000th candidate.  Now in addition to those candidates that American Majority helped identify and train,  more than 10% of those who come through our activist - or as we’re starting to call them, effectivist trainings - will eventually run for office.
Case in point was a wonderful woman who came up at the end of the day’s training and shared her and her husband’s experience.  Here’s their story:

In May of 2011 Carl & I were at a Republican dinner and the head of the Board of elections handed me a paper, when I looked at it was a petition for County Legislator with Carl's name on it. Carl & I started the Tea Party in Cattaraugus County and we had a hard time getting the Republican committee to really accept us as committee people.  We worked very hard on the 2010 elections.  At first Carl wasn't really interested.  I told him he has been preaching to the tea party members that we need to get elected to local offices and school boards.  In other words practice what you preach.  So he decided to run.  Our district includes two small towns.  First we went out to get petitions signed.  Carl, my daughter and I got enough signatures for him to be on the ballot. There are about 2500 registered voters in our district. The two of us, were the campaign committee. 
We talked about what we learned from all the American Majority training sessions we had attended and we ran a grassroots campaign.  We made our own handouts and designed and printed them at home, so we printed on demand.  We had very little money to spend.  TheRepublican county committee gave each candidate $500.00, that we  used for a mass mailing the last week. We bought 100 yard signs.  From Labor Day on Carl went door to door till the day before the election.  We got the walking lists and studied them.  We made a plan of what areas to cover when.  We took the handouts we made and if someone wasn't home we had bought some bags to hang them on the doorknobs.  They were perfect for our 1/3 sheet handout.
Carl was running against the top Democrat in the county, who was the superintendent of the Ellicottville school district, fire chief in Great Valley and very well known.  Mr Ward also had 3 party lines on the ballot, Carl had one. No one thought Carl would win.  As he went door to door he found out that Mr Ward never returned calls and never went to the town meetings for the 2 towns in the district – andMr Ward was the majority leader in the legislature. 
We were learning what the voters wanted form their legislator. Not only did my husband target the Republican voters but the Democrats too. We had looked at the election results form the election 4 years before and knew he had to win over as many voters as he could no matter what "flavor" they were.  Waiting for election day was like waiting for Christmas. At the end of the night 895 people voted, Carl had 491 votes and Mr Ward had 404.  They are still talking about that election.  Nobody was more surprised than Carl. All his hard work paid off.  We made no phone calls to voters - it was all personal contact - which you can do in a local campaign.  We won for less than a $1000.00. 
It was an amazing experience and we know our trainings from American Majority really helped us. I strongly encourage anyone that has a chance to attend a training session to do so.  Our training helped us help others with their campaigns and Carl's campaign. Thank you for all the material you make available to us.
We’re hearing stories like that with increased frequency as more and more of the grassroots take our ideas and strategies and materials and apply them to campaigns. This is how real, national, generational change begins -  not with some flashy, big splash, but with quiet determination and perseverance as more Americans put their hands to the plow in their communities to make change happen.
I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do so far at American Majority. I’m proud of the American Majority staff and all the time and effort they put into the mission. Most of all I’m proud of the tens of thousands of great Americans who with our help are putting our country backtoward a path of freedom and prosperity.  I hope you’ll continue to work alongside us, and that you’ll get your friends and family to join inthis noble work as well.
Keep America free.
Ned Ryun
American Majority
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