DMO & NGP VAN: A Partnership to Strengthen the Democratic Bench

March 18, 2013 | NGP VAN

The expression “all politics is local” has always carried a special place in my heart. Growing up in Chicago, I learned all about the importance of a firm handshake, good eye contact and, most of all, a Midwestern work ethic. I witnessed firsthand how legislative outcomes at City Hall and in Springfield shaped the everyday lives of my fellow citizens. So naturally, when I moved to Washington, D.C. in 2008, I was concerned to discover that a significant disconnect exists between the political discourse on Capitol Hill and the reality on the ground in communities across America.

Earlier this week, I was privileged to represent NGP VAN at the Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO) National Breakfast Meeting. DMO exists to create a cohesive party platform between elected officials on the national and local levels. As a partner organization to DMO, NGP VAN helps Democratic candidates to organize by equipping them with the best field, fundraising, and new media tools available on the market— the same tools that have been invaluable to the progressive cause for years on the federal and statewide level.

The event’s keynote speaker, John Podesta, delivered a rousing call to arms for the Democratic officials and organizers present. In discussing the current debate over budget priorities in Washington, he explained how recent sequestration cuts are holding municipal budgets hostage, how raising the federal minimum wage can help — not hurt — small businesses, and how mandating that employers provide paid sick leave is a moral imperative in any modern society. Mr. Podesta called on those present to fight for these issues on a local level; to win the hearts and minds of voters on their doorstep and over the phone rather than relying on traditional tactics of persuasion.

Following their shellacking at the polls in both 2008 and 2012, there is no doubt that Republican organizers at all levels will be turning toward technology providers to help them build a better model for winning elections in the future. Democrats must respond by winning the hearts and minds of our neighbors in the grassroots; by knocking on more doors, making more calls, and raising more money than our opponents. Together, DMO and NGP VAN are working to build an enduring partnership that allows leaders in cities and towns across America to communicate the message of the progressive cause effectively and efficiently to their constituents.