Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the Americans for Good Government website, whose leaders include tea-party cofounder Mark Meckler. Is the school board next? You bet it is. What is the “center-left” and “middle of the road” in our community waiting for?
“Nevada County, California – An early example of a quick start.
“As our team began to review the commonalities between the examples provided here, we decided to begin an early test run to check local level receptivity to such an approach. Because Mark Meckler lives in a small, rural county in California, we decided to try there.
“Meckler first met with a well-known local political operative named Kim Pruett. Kim is the local field representative for Congressman Tom McClintock. In that position, she is well known in local political circles. Meckler pitched her on the ‘Status Go Project,’ and she expressed immediate enthusiasm, saying that this was “exactly what was needed locally.”
“Based on her initial enthusiasm, Meckler asked her to put together a meeting with influential members of the local business community who might be interested in supporting such a plan. He also asked her to create a draft budget to support the project, along with an initial action plan.
“The first meeting was held in the conference room of a local timber company and approximately 15 business people and 6 grassroots leaders showed up. Among the business people were the largest local building contractor (also the head of the Contractors’ Board), and the head of the local conservative business owner’s lobbying group.
“Engage in local and state elections from bottom to top of system.
“Create legislative plan for each jurisdiction in which ‘Status Go’ is engaged, in order to turn electoral gains into permanent policy gains.
“The Ask: A minimum of 10 donors willing to each commit at least $400 per month, for one year to start. Donations to be paid up front for the first year. Then at the end of the first year, if donors like the results, we’re looking for a four-year commitment.
“Donors to meet at least quarterly to provide guidance and support, interview potential candidates, etc. Response was overwhelmingly positive, with all in attendance wanting to participate. The only complaints were that Meckler and Pruett were not trying to raise enough money.
“Instead of $4K per month, the business owners felt the target number should be $8K per month to allow more aggressive and effective efforts more quickly. Additionally, while Meckler and Pruett had suggested that donors get together once per quarter, the donors themselves suggested once per month, wishing to be more engaged. They were excited to move from no say in the party status quo to say so in a local ‘Status Go’ project.
“Pruett also presented an initial plan to fill open seats on boards and commissions throughout the county and local cities. She found that over 60 positions are currently unfilled, and that by working to fill these positions the local group could build a strong farm team for elevation to local office, while affecting local policy and fiscal matters.
“Participants in the meeting immediately began suggesting candidates and some even volunteered themselves.
“Ten candidates have already been identified, and the initial work is being done to get them placed on local boards and commissions. Pruett has begun networking with other local organizations, such as the Contractors’ Board, Board of Realtors, and other pro business organizations. Response has been very positive all around.”