I have been a regular voter since I turned 18, but I never got close to the nitty-gritty of politics until I was invited last year to serve on the Freelancers Union Endorsement Committee. As Sara has noted elsewhere in this blog, politics isn't always pretty - there have been a couple of occasions when we endorsed a candidate I personally didn't like. But in truth, it wasn't that hard to do. As a voter, I have my own list of personal concerns and pet issues. But my role as a member of the Endorsement Committee is more focused - I want to elect people who understand the growing role of freelancers in the workforce and are ready to help pass our legislative agenda.
The really hard work of this process - interviewing candidates and having them fill out detailed questionnaires - is already accomplished by Freelancers Union staff and volunteer members by the time I get involved. When Endorsement Committee members gather (mostly by conference call - no smoke-filled rooms), we are provided a list of candidates and summaries of their positions on our key issues.
The key question then becomes: Who can help us the most? Sometimes a candidate's strong support on our issues makes an endorsement a no-brainer. Sometimes the considerations are more tactical. Is the candidate in a close race where our support will be noted and remembered? Is the candidate backed by an especially influential legislator who will appreciate the favor? Would an endorsement help turn lukewarm support today into a more solid commitment to our cause down the line? These decisions aren't always easy, but they're usually arrived at by consensus. We're all on the same page when it comes to our core issues.
An endorsement can take many forms, ranging from a phone call to let the campaign know it can add the Freelancers Union to its list of supporters, to active, on-the-ground campaign help. In the September primaries, our members made thousands of phone calls and passed our more than 10,000 pieces of campaign literature on behalf of our endorsed candidates. You can click here to see how well they did. Or go here to see the full list of our endorsed candidates for the November general election.
There are many ways to get involved with our campaign effort leading up to the November elections, from volunteering to help us get out the vote for our endorsed candidates to contributing to our Political Action Committee. Whichever way you choose, be sure to let all your local candidates know that you are a freelancer and that you vote. That is our ultimate weapon.
Member Representative, Freelancers Union Board of Directors