Ready for Change in Georgia

November 7, 2016
The ripples of energy have shown up in the press all year. "Georgia is in play."  and "Georgia could go blue in 2016." 
 
At Wellstone, we've watched with care and pride as several of our alumni lead the fight for progressive values in Georgia. 
 
Amanda Ford, field director for the Georgia Democratic Party along with Chrystian Woods, deputy field director, are two of our Wellstone Corps alumni who been on the ground for the 2016 election in Georgia.  
 
With a breadth of tools and skills, they are running a campaign that's grounded in Wellstone values -- a campaign that started with community building and meetings with local stakeholders, with a focus on field and making connections with people. "We're focuses on doing good work every day." Chrystian explains, "It's about quality conversations on the doors."
 
Though the pundits like to talk about Georgia in the context of this election cycle as a dramatic change, a shiny new opportunity, the crew on the ground doesn't always see it that way. "Georgians are very proud of their progressive heritage," Chrystian says, citing Georgia's role as the cradle of the civil rights movement as well as the 1976 election of Jimmy Carter. "They don’t see Georgia turning blue as a shift. It's an extension of things that we’ve done before."
 
To Chrystian, Wellstone's tools and training have been crucial to the work she's doing every day. "In a leadership role, listening skills are extremely important. How to use my story as an organizing tool and how to have an effective one-on-one -- things Wellstone taught me -- have been key in this role."
 
She also thinks the make-up of her team has made a huge difference. Their core leadership all come from southern states, and are a majority women. "To have that type of leadership, helps to build up the narrative of what is happening in the country." 
 
Chrystian credits her Wellstone Corps training as her fuel for building lasting power in Georgia well beyond this election: "We're reaching out to groups who historically haven’t been represented and making their voices heard -- women, people of color, rural folk." For Chrystian, the thing that is most needed for progressives to win on Tuesday (and well beyond) is more of what Wellstone teaches – organizing that builds lasting grassroots power.
 
At Wellstone, we couldn't agree more. Even more important than the immediate impact of this week's election are the long-term implications of what we’re fighting for -- in Georgia and across the country – and whether that work is accomplished in a way where everyone’s in, no one’s out, no exceptions. The kind of politics Paul practiced, where we all do better when we all do better
 
Chrystian says it best: "Don't count us out. We're Georgia and we're proud of that."
 
On November 8, we'll be cheering on our friends in Georgia, and so many alumni across the country who are running campaigns The Wellstone Way. Check back with us on Wednesday as the results roll in!