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Last evening I had a chance to attend an event put on by the Young Voters PAC in a bar on Capitol Hill.  The organizer is run by Jane Fleming Kleeb, wife of 2006 Nebraska Congressional candidate Scott Kleeb.   It was an accessible event, with a minimum buy-in of $50, and the hook was the celebrity bartenders.   A complete list of those who were going to fill that role can be seen here.  I was unable to stay for the entire event, as I had to attend a meeting of a non-profit board on which I served.   But I want to briefly describe the good work this organization does, and the people I did see while I was there.

So please keep reading.   This will be relatively short.

First, I want to quote from the purpose of the Young Voter Pac as it appears on their homepage:

Young Voter PAC will support candidates who reach out to young voters and include us as an important part of their campaign strategy. Progressive candidates who mobilize young voters and speak to their issues need our help to do it.

We want politicians to pay attention to young people, and we want young people to have a voice in campaigns. Young Voter PAC is one way to change the faces of elections: who participates and who wins.

 IF we can get young people to commit as Democrats early on during their eligibility, we are likely to be creating life-long Democratic voters.   And it is important that young people feel they have a role to play.  We have a real opportunity in the current cycle to change the political orientation of a generation and this organization is one mechanism to help accomplish that.     Knowing that is one reason I chose to attend, even cutting short my soccer practice yesterday afternoon.

Another reason was that as an educator I was impressed with the number of the celebrity bartenders who were involved with education.  I got to talk with "Everyone's favorit teacher" Rep. Harry Mitchell and with Anthony Daniels of NEA, neither of whom had I met before.  Anthony and I plan to follow up on matters of common interest.   And while I have previously corresponded with and had one brief interchange with Chairman George Miller before, we had an opportunity to talk about reauthorization of NCLB,and he was quite gracious when I noted that I didn't agree with him on everything, telling me that was okay. Miller was also the emcee for another part of the fundraising, a raffle for political memorabilia, organized apparetly by Christine Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker of the House, who was also distributing literature for her campaign boot camp project.  Tickets were only $1.00 each, and there were signed posters from Howard Dean and the Speaker and lots of other interesting items as well.  The winning tickets were numbered as high as well over 400, so that was a somewhat successful side event, and showed the enthusiasm.

Among the people not tending bar whom I encountered that would be familiar to this website were NYBri and Mike Rogers (who helped break the story on Larry Craig).  I was also able to talk not only with Scott Kleeb, but with Celinda Lake and John Aravosis.  Since I could not stay to the end, I don't know if Rep Pat Murphy finally showed up.

It is of course easy to put together an event like this in DC, through which even a lot of visiting political celebrities pass, and which has a large mass with which one can start.   But I would think similar kinds of events are possible in many parts of the country.  And the raffle of memorabilia is certainly something that can be done anywhere.

It was great fun, good to see many familiar faces and meet new people, and I thought it worthwhile to share the idea more widely.


Originally posted to teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 03:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm running late for school (6+ / 0-)

    but I wanted to take enough time to make sure people knew what a good - and fun - idea this was.   Perhaps you can use a similar approach where you are.   And if you can, consider kicking a few bucks to the PAC.   They will use the money wisely.


    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 03:40:25 AM PDT

  •  now in transit (4+ / 0-)

    if there is any traffic (and so far I see none) I will catch up with it when I get to my classroom in about 40 minutes.


    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 03:52:55 AM PDT

    •  It's a very fine idea (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, am, Chun Yang, willb48

      and mirrors what Howard Dean said at yearlykos:  the youth are far more likely to vote democratic then before and once they do for a couple of election cycles they are in for life.

      Delighted that they're are groups out there mobilizing this effort at recruitment.

      Thanks for the info.

      •  agreed - we need to work simultaneously (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        am, Chun Yang, real world chick, willb48

        on winning current elections but building the infrastructure for long-term success.  That's why I supported the 50-state strategy even when some on the Hill were arguing against it, and why I think it important to do the outreach to young people.  We must ensure that we provide not only outreach, but also give them a sense that they can participated fully, and not just be limited to grunt work.  We might be surprised to realize how strong as agents of influence some young people already are.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 04:39:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Although he lost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, am

    Scott Kleeb did a lot to energise the Democratic base, and not just in Nebraska.  It is fantastic to here of his wife's fundraiser - and funny to think of the bartenders.  I might have insisted upon mixing my own Campari and soda.  I would not have trusted Scott, I'm sorry.

    "Oh, you mean you have to pour the Campari over the ice before adding the soda?"

    Grrr.  I'm hoping Kerrey stays in New York, and that Kleeb is the new Senator from Nebraska!

    •  actually they were limited in what they served (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a small number of draft beers and a choice between a red and a white wine.  Those were the items that were included in paying to get in.  For anything else you had to pay.

      And even with that small limitation, a couple of the celebs had to be taught how to pull a draft beer without winding up with a glass that was all foam.


      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 05:13:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks + more about Young Voter Pac (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hi all- thanks for the great post and comments about the event. It was a blast and we will be posting pictures later today on our website. If you want to donate, you can do so here:

    The Young Voter Pac is all about making sure candidates  target young people as voters, not just volunteers. Young people (18-35) have made the winning difference in elections for Democrats and we will continue to do so as long as candidates and state parties continue to invest in young people by targeting them as voters and paying attention to the issues we care about (thank you to congress for passing the student loan bill this week btw).

    Young people are the MOST democratic age group with 48% of us identifying as Dems when just a few years ago that was only about 33% and only about 38% of older folks identify as Dems, so we are blue and we are ready to continue to make the winning difference in elections!

    by janefleming on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 06:34:08 AM PDT

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