Change in the Show-Me State

February 26, 2014
(Photo Credit, Progress Missouri)
Sometimes you see change in the outcome of an election. Sometimes you see change in the thousands who gather for a rally at the steps of a state capitol. And sometimes you see change in a crowded conference room in Columbia, MO. 
And so it was when Camp Wellstone came to Columbia over a chilly weekend in early February. The Camp, done in partnership with Progress Missouri, sold out several days before it was set to begin. In a state with plenty of statewide elected progressives, but a conservative state legislature, “there’s a lot of hunger to learn,” explains Sean Soendker Nicholson, Executive Director of Progressive Missouri. “The Camp was full of people completely new to organizing, and folks with many decades of experience, and everyone was excited to learn from progressive success stories from across the country.”
As Sean describes it, Missouri is a 50-50 state, but the state legislature doesn’t reflect that political diversity, and that’s true for a few reasons, “Bad maps, a lack of infrastructure, and there’s just not been as much investment in growing activists and candidates at the grassroots level as we need to have.” 
Growing a movement from the bottom up, that’s what Missouri needs, and that’s what Progress Missouri partnered with Wellstone Action to help achieve. 
So Wellstone came to Columbia to help sow the seeds of winning campaigns among candidates, campaigners, and activists with an eye on 2014, and beyond. And how’d it go?
“It was an entirely positive weekend that energized our progressive community.  For me, it was powerful to watch candidates work on their stump speeches. They just knocked it out of the park by talking about their values. I saw these candidates develop and grow. I’ve never been more confidant in the capacity of these leaders to connect with voters and win change in our state,” says Sean. 
Camp Wellstone Missouri was a good example of what Wellstone Action is all about. We partner with leading frontline organizations to support a movement, empower leaders, and equip progressives to win, through a sustained focus on organizing the Wellstone Way. 
That’s why we’re glad that Camp Wellstone Missouri was so packed, and so powerful. “Folks came out of Camp with smiles on their face. It was exciting. People left with a feeling that they could do it, they could make a plan, they could connect with their audience, and they could be successful. And all the while, smart people, like the team at Wellstone, would be there to help.” 
Yep, we’re here to help. And win! And we’re honored to work with Progress Missouri to do just that.