On June 12, 2010, the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) will select a new 1st Vice Chair. The purpose of this newly-created Facebook page is to (strongly) support Susan Mariner for that position. Some background on Susan follows. Thanks for your help!
Currently, Susan Mariner serves as Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) Chair. As VBDC Chair, Susan has been focused on uniting and growing her committee, in part through the use of cutting-edge grassroots and social networking techniques and tools. In addition, Susan has focused on grassroots training to strengthen the VBDC and make it more effective. She has worked tirelessly to generate support for Democratic candidates in the 2nd Congressional District.
Susan in an inclusive leader who brings people into the party. As VBDC Chair, Susan has worked with urban, rural, and suburban committees in the Hampton Roads area, collecting and sharing “best practices,” doubling membership in the committee this year, as well as diversifying the VBDC in age and minority participation. In addition, Susan has professionalized VBDC communications and its website, increased the committee’s visibility, and created an active and effective public service committee.
Many of us know Susan from 2006, when she was one of the most important – and effective – leaders in Jim Webb’s 10,000-strong “ragtag army” of grassroots volunteers. Hard working. Personable. Professional. Organized. Motivated. Passionate. Dedicated. Articulate. Creative. Inclusive. Progressive. Experienced. New media savvy. Effective. What more could you want from a Democratic activist and leader in the year 2010?
In 2007 and 2008, Susan was a 50-State Organizer and Deputy Political Director for Hampton Roads. She also served as political director for Barack Obama’s general election campaign in Hampton Roads. By all accounts, Susan did an excellent, highly professional job for the Democratic Party and for the Obama campaign. Susan worked closely with Deputy Political Directors from across Virginia, which gave her an excellent understanding of the issues and concerns facing Democrats in all regions of the Commonwealth.
The bottom line: Susan Mariner will make a superb 1st Vice Chair for the Democratic Party of Virginia. She’s done a superb job as a member of Jim Webb’s “ragtag army,” as a DNC 50-State organizer, as Deputy Political Director for Hampton Roads, and as political director for Barack Obama’s general election campaign in Hampton Roads. Now, it’s time to promote Susan to the next level – DPVA 1st Vice Chair. Go Susan!
UPDATE: See after the “flip” for a segment from my book (co-authored with Nate Wilcox), Netroots Rising, on Susan’s stroke of genius – the “Webb Wagons” – and why that one episode epitomizes all the reasons why Susan Mariner should be the next DPVA 1st Vice Chair!
Another successful grassroots initiative came from Susan Mariner, one of the best Webb volunteers of the entire campaign. Her clever invention — some would say stroke of genius — was the “Webb Wagons.” On August 7, Mariner took a Roadmaster red steel-bed children’s wagon, decorated it with Webb stickers, and filled it with Webb goodies. That weekend, Virginia Beach was holding a large event, the Princess Anne Park Arts and Crafts Festival. No political “tabling, was allowed, which prevented Allen’s campaign from showing up and campaigning. Fortunately, it didn’t stop the Webb volunteers led by Susan Mariner. As Mariner wrote on Raising Kaine, “Allen’s camp didn’t show at this major event,” but Webb volunteers “spread the word about Jim to thousands of people at the event this weekend, distributing smiles, literature, bumper stickers [which] we put into our newly constructed ‘Webb Wagons.'”
The wagons were a big hit and highly effective; they functioned as mobile tabling units and “generated a lot of attention for Webb from folks of all ages.” Mariner added, “There’s something magical about a wagon, isn’t there?” Yes, and there’s something magical about passionate, committed citizen-activists equipped with Webb Wagons and other homemade products of their creativity and enthusiasm. People pick up on this kind of enthusiasm in a way that they never would through a traditional mailing or the 500th TV ad you’ve seen about Candidate X. A Webb Wagon is far more memorable.
The Webb Wagons were also important in helping to boost morale among Webb volunteers. On August 8, Mariner wrote to Lowell, that “there are huge numbers of people who are extremely motivated by the bottom up concept,” which is exactly “what the Webb Wagon represents.” “A ‘Webb Wagoneer’,” Mariner added, “is the epitome of the grassroots taking on a powerful, monied, Republican machine,” saying to the volunteers, “You can make a difference. It’s not ALL about money. You are important, and you have power. Hit the road, and together we’ll take Allen down.”
Fortunately, the Allen-Webb race was not all about money. If it had been, Webb probably would have lost, given Allen’s huge cash edge for most of the campaign. “People power” — epitomized by Mary Detweiler, Susan Mariner, Todd Smyth, Jan-Lars Mueller, Marc Greidinger, Dave Leichtman, C.W. Dean, Peter Churchill, Annabel Park, Eric Byler, Barbara Kreykenbaum, Cassie Arnold, Ken Kukovich, Tom Counts and thousands of others — ultimately defeated George Allen. But as of early August 2006, victory was still just a dream; there was a lot of work yet to be done to make dream reality.