This week, our BlueWave Interview is with Susan Hudson in Arizona. You can find her at @SusanGlamMom on Twitter. Following the 2016 election, Susan threw herself wholeheartedly into local activism. Hear how she got started and what all she’s doing now:
TS: Were you politically active at all before 2016?
SUSAN: I’ve always voted, but hadn’t done much more than that.
TS: How did you get started with local activism after the election?
SUSAN: For the first few months after the election, I was angry. But then I came to the realization that I needed to get involved. A friend suggested that I check out a national group that had a local chapter, which I did.
Ultimately, the local chapter decided to chart its own path, separate from the national organization, and we became Stronger Together Arizona. I was part of the leadership team for a while. It’s an amazing group. We have over 9,000 members across Arizona.
TS: That’s fantastic! What kinds of activities do you all engage in?
SUSAN: It really covers a broad range of activities. For example, recently, we did a legislative bootcamp at the state capitol. We met with staffers who walked us through exactly how a bill goes through committee, how and when we can get involved to the greatest effect, etc.
We’ve also done community clean-ups — I met my local representative at one! I have gotten to know so many of our elected officials this past year, including people whose positions I hadn’t thought much about, like county recorder.
TS: Is your organization involved with elections?
SUSAN: Oh yes. We are focused on registering people to vote. We have also been educating our members about the election process. From time to time, we do special Summits — a day of workshops with speakers that fit the workshop topic.
The first Summit was how to be a better activist and introducing activists to each other. The second Summit was about how to get dark money out of politics, and how to be a better advocate for minority groups.
I’ve just learned that the next Summit we’re having is all about how to be a candidate and work in campaigns.
TS: Those Summits sound terrific. Are you involved in any other groups?
SUSAN: Stronger Together Arizona was the birth of my activism. Through them, I met a friend and together we co-founded Indivisible AZ9.
Separate from the groups I’m involved in, I have ten friends running for office, so I’m helping them in a variety of ways.
TS: Speaking of candidates, what do you think is the most effective way to mobilize our voters?
SUSAN: Honestly, I just became a PC (precinct committeeperson) in my legislative district to do just that. Essentially, a PC is a liaison between the Democratic party and the voter. One thing PCs can do is throw house parties for candidates, which the district helps set up.
A big part of what PCs do is mobilize canvassers. Our canvassers go door to door to tell the precinct about the issues and candidates that are in the next election cycle, when the election is, where they can vote, etc.
For those that might be new at canvassing, I encourage you to try it. We will send a newbie with an experienced canvasser, and to specific doors. Our data tells us which doors are friendly. Talking to voters personally is key.
TS: Can you walk us through what a conversation with a voter looks like?
SUSAN: Generally, you’ll want to let them know who is running in their district, and give them the top 3 talking points for the Democratic candidate(s). You can then send them to a website to get more information. It’s short and simple, and very effective.
What we know about canvassing is this: If you knock on a door once, that voter is 60% likely to vote. If you knock on the door twice, that voter is 90% likely to vote.
TS: Wow. That is a seriously exciting statistic! It sounds as though you find all of these efforts to be very satisfying.
SUSAN: It is. I can see results from having gotten involved. We’ve killed the healthcare bill 3 times, as an example. And now I feel like a part of fellowship. We’re a tight knit group.
Right now, I have three goals: 1) To get Trump out. 2) To disrupt the GOP agenda. 3) Help with outreach to the homeless. I not interested in drama. Help me, or get out of my way.
TS: Do you have any final advice for people who want to get more involved locally?
SUSAN: You have multiple ways to get involved in your community. Get involved with one. If it’s not the right group for you, find a new group. Don’t burn bridges when you leave.
There’s a lot of work that we can do and being involved with a fellowship of people who want the same things you do is very satisfying. Go for it.
POSTSCRIPT: I want to thank Susan for sharing her story with us and encouraging each of us to get more involved in our communities.
Thank you for reading this BlueWave Interview. See you next time!