Progressives and Cookies

July 22, 2013

One of the truly wonderful perks about organizing Camp Wellstones across the country is that I get to meet some incredible, passionate progressives. Another perk is that sometimes those progressives bring me cookies.

Sam Shim joined the Wellstone Action family when he came to two trainings on one weekend. Last year in Detroit, in partnership with the New American Leaders Project, we led a training on a Friday morning for first- and second-generation immigrants on running for office, and then those participants joined a bigger group of us for an intensive 2.5 days of Camp Wellstone starting on Friday afternoon. Sam was a part of it all.

Today, Sam is a candidate for school board in Worthington, Ohio. And he credits Wellstone Action, and everything he learned in that training-packed weekend, for the skills and knowledge that he brings to every phase of his candidacy, from recruiting volunteers, to connecting with voters. Says Sam, “I use your book, Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way, as our bible for the campaign. I have three copies so I can give it to volunteers. I’ve done several other political trainings and nothing compares to a Wellstone training.”

Sam is campaigning the Wellstone Way: values first.

"The main theme of our campaign is to be values based. I think an amateur campaign mistake is to list 20 things you’d like to do if you win; it’s pretty dry and doesn’t generate emotions, and we don’t campaign that way. We portray who I am and what I stand for first. I am a parent first. I am a community member first. I am a leader. And I connect with the voters based on these values."

At the New American Leaders training and the subsequent Camp Wellstone, Sam and his fellow participants went through every aspect of running for office. But more than any specific lesson, the most positive benefit of working with us was an added jolt of confidence, “I loved the two-way interaction with trainers and how interactive Camp Wellstone is, but the biggest thing that Wellstone solidified for me is the fact that I could really run and win. I had the resources and I was now armed with the knowledge. It’s important to learn the skills, but the confidence that you get from Wellstone Action is what really matters.”

Sam so appreciates our training, people, and approach that when we headed to Ohio for a Camp Wellstone last month, he stopped by to say “hi,” help out, and bring us cookies. Everyone really enjoyed the Ohio State Buckeye-themed cookies (especially me!), but even more so, we are excited about Sam’s continued dedication to winning the Wellstone Way. Good luck, Sam!