Story and Impact
“We all do better when we all do better.”
Though there are many beloved Wellstone-isms, this one may take the proverbial cake.
A populist, progressive Senator from Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, and his wife, Sheila – an equally fierce champion for social justice – were killed in a plane crash, 12 days before the 2002 election, along with their daughter, Marcia Wellstone Markuson, and three members of their campaign staff – Tom Lapic, Mary McEvoy, and Will McLaughlin.
In the middle of their grief, the Wellstone family, along with members of Paul’s campaign staff, joined to form Wellstone Action (501c4) and its sister organization, Wellstone Action Fund (501c3), to continue Paul and Sheila’s work to bring back a politics that was about improving people’s lives. Period.
Today, Wellstone Action is the largest training center for progressives in the country. And to be totally honest? We weren’t always so sure we’d get here. Back in 2003, hungry to carry forward the Wellstone legacy, we had some choices to make. We could have stayed small, kept our focus local, and continued to make a difference in Minnesota.
But Paul Wellstone was never just a Senator for Minnesotans – he inspired thousands beyond Minnesota’s borders. An educator, an organizer, and a leader long before he was a Senator, Paul’s background – and backbone – made him a visionary, a ceaseless champion for social justice. And his ideas just couldn’t be contained to the state that elected him.
So Wellstone Action quickly grew to achieve a national presence, with a country full of people who were just as hungry as we were to practice politics the “Wellstone Way”. And almost 10 years later, we have inspired and prepared tens of thousands of people, in all 50 states, to fight for and win progressive change.
We don’t do this work alone. More than 350 organizations have partnered with us to advance progressive change on the issues we all care about; more than 55,000 candidates, campaign staff, and community organizers have turned to us to learn how to run – and win – progressive campaigns, and trusted us to teach them the key to creating long-term, lasting change in our communities. The trick to winning back our progressive values is the Wellstone Triangle, and it anchors everything we do.
We believe change happens when leaders and their organizations have sufficient motivation and the right knowledge and skills to seize an organizing opportunity, develop smart campaigns, and win specific outcomes. And progressive movement-building requires these campaigns and victories to also create more organizing opportunities, reorganize existing power relationships, shift the narrative frame, grow new leaders, build stronger organizations, and expand our resources. Which means that at Wellstone Action, we’re in it for the long haul.
Ready to win progressive change? See what Wellstone Action can do for you.