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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
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Thank You All from Marc Stier
I want to thank all of you who voted for me on Tuesday. And I want to thank even more all of you who worked for me in various ways—going door to door with my literature, working the polls, sending out emails to your friends, making phone calls, and raising or contributing money. I am honored and humbled to have had so many good people around the city believe in both me and the ideas I presented during this campaign.
I am, of course, disappointed by the result. I knew from the start that this was going to be a difficult race. But the response I was getting around the city was so positive and supportive that there were one or two moments when I thought I might even squeak by.
Optimism is certainly useful in a race as difficult as the one I ran. But, even after seeing the disappointing results, I’m not discouraged or disheartened.
For one thing, I think that my campaign, along with that of the other reform candidates—Andy Toy, Derek Green, Matt Ruben, Caryn Hunt, and Ben Ramos—raised some critical issues for the future of the city. While we all had our own take on the issues, we all agreed that politics in this city needs to be reformed. And we said that reform is necessary to bring the innovative public policies that will give us a chance not only to address the issues on the minds of everyone—jobs, education, and crime—but also those issues that should be on the minds of everyone—planning and zoning, transit, and sustainability and the environment. The effort we made to bring these ideas to people around the city will, in the long term, make Philadelphia a better place to live.
Second, I ran hoping to win but also hoping to build a progressive movement in the city. Early in the campaign I told people that, if nothing else, I will spend a lot of money finding progressives around the city and getting them involved in our organizations. I didn’t raise and spend nearly what I had hoped. But the hard work we progressive candidates did in reaching out to people around the city will certainly help us develop a constituency for change, one that we can bring to bear on our next Mayor and Council.
Third, I have to say that this has been one of the most difficult but rewarding experiences of my life. I personally loved campaigning and aside from one thing I’ll mention below, I really had an extraordinarily good time in the last five months. And I learned so much about our city and about how politics works in it. Much of what I learned confirmed for me that politics is indeed broken in Philadelphia. But, as I will explain in the articles and book I hope to write in the next year or so, it is broken in a way that offers hope for the future.
There are a lot of very good people in politics in this city, including some of the committee people and ward leaders. My ideas about politics may be different from that of many committee people and ward leaders. But more than half of them share with me a concern for the good of Philadelphia and a willingness to listen to one another. The notion that the folks in the machine are evil, self-interested and dishonest is simply not true. Some are. But others are good people caught up in a political system that is often dysfunctional. But many of them know it is dysfunctional and would support reforms of some kind, especially if those reforms were respectful of their concerns.
I’m also hopeful because this clearly was a moment in which people were voting for reform in electing Michael Nutter (and in supporting Tom Knox who called for political reform.) So there is no question that, as I saw on the campaign trail, people respond to a progressive reform message when they hear it. The problem in my race was getting the message heard. The Mayor’s race is totally different from that of other races in the city. It is the only race in which the ward structure is mostly irrelevant because candidates have the resources and attention from the press to get their own message out. We progressives are going to have to figure out how to do this with much less in the way of money or press attention.
So there is hope for the future. But to take advantage of it we progressives must learn to be as self-critical as we are critical of politics as usual. As I will explain on another occasion, the loose progressive movement in this city has its own dysfunctional elements, which we will need to work very hard to overcome.
There time to think about the future for progressives in the city, and to analyze the results of the camapaign in the future. Now, however, I need to rest some more and start reconnecting with the issue activism I left off when I started my run for office. And I have to thank all those folks who helped me so much during the campaign.
Because they are so many, I will thank the volunteers in private. And because they might not want other to know how much they helped me, my thanks to people inside the party will be private as well.
But I do want to publicly thank some people starting with my family—my wife Diane and daughter Katja—for all they endured in the last five months. And special thanks to my mother-in-law for all her contributions to the campaign and to my sister who was here on Election Day and my parents. The hardest thing about the campaign was that is was terribly disruptive to my family. I’m extraordinarily grateful for their sacrifice and the incredible support they gave me.
There is one person inside the party and the labor movement who I can acknowledge publicly, my good friend and ward leader Lou Agre. His help during the campaign was immense.
And I must thank Hannah Miller who helped formulate the message of my campaign.
And finally I should mention the amazing, overworked folks who worked for the campaign in various capacities, starting with Don Jones, Rob Stuart, Aaron Couch, and the other folks at Evolve, Josh Richard, James Stanley Smith, Daniel Hunter, Ben Waxman, Christina Michaels, and Bill Durham. Three people worked full time on my campaign. Lafia Anderson kept us organized with incredible skill and provided us all with a great deal of support. Andrew Gaffney was a great fundraiser and designer of our campaign materials and helped out in so many other ways. He even learned how to do some field working during the campaign and did it well.
And Crystal Martzall was simply an incredible campaign manager. She not only directed the work of everyone else—including me—and organized our outreach efforts into the community and wards but was also the key strategist of the campaign and helped keep me calm, focused, and energized. I’ve worked very closely with her in the last few months and I’m extraordinarily grateful for her dedication, friendship, and sense of humor.
And, once again, thanks to all of you who helped in one way or another.