February 11, 2016  

Voices from the Field in New Hampshire
     
On the eve of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary (the "first in the nation"), IndependentVoting.org President Jackie Salit and Tiani Coleman, President of New Hampshire Independent Voters, addressed the "We the People Convention," sponsored by NH Rebellion.  Coleman was invited by event organizer Dan Weeks, the Executive Director of Open Democracy.  The event was a gathering of local and national campaign reform activists.

Coleman,who has been working in the NH Rebellion coalition, spoke on Friday and focused on why independent voters care about the corrupting influence of money and party power in our election process. She recounted her journey from Salt Lake City Republican Chair to independent activist, speaking about the concerns of independent voters

On Saturday, Jackie Salit broadened the discussion, adding that partisanship, as well as money, is washing through our elections system and degrading it. Salit spoke about the political  laboratory  developing in Arizona where these issues have been fused by a powerful new coalition. She shared a video clip of a recent interview she conducted with Danny Ortega, an attorney, long-time community activist and a co-chair of the Open and Honest Elections Coalition.  She appealed to the audience to help her build the critical link between the campaign finance reform movement and the movement to reform the primary process. 
 
Streaming video of the conference here. [NOTE: Jackie takes the stage at 3:27:00]

Following Salit's appearance, radio host Arnie Arneson and Pulitzer Prize-winner Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream, spoke.  Smith referenced Salit's talk in his remarks about the importance of open primaries.  After, Salit and Smith discussed the positive impact of Top Two elections in California and Washington, the Arizona Open and Honest Elections Coalition and the need for a robust package of reforms to move power to the American people.

Tiani Coleman and her local activists worked the room, speaking with others in the electoral reform movement, including the actor Sam Waterston and Campaign Finance Reform champion Larry Lessig. She  also briefly spoke to two members of Congress in attendance  about the Open Our Democracy Act, the anti-corruption bill championed by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD). M any people proved to be interested in the independent movement, and wore "Voting Rights are Primary" buttons.

Tiani worked the media circuit as well, appearing on CNN and Al Jazeera America DC.

"The We the People event showed a great strength and unstoppable spirit in the Fight Big Money movement, and a lot of added energy and synergy in the independent voting movement," said Coleman. 
Bernie, You Say You Want a Revolution....

Jackie Salit's latest OpEd for The Huffington Post has been circulating in our networks and generating vibrant conversation about Sanders' relationship to independent voters.  
 
Her challenge to Sanders:  " You have to do more than show that Hillary is vulnerable. You have to show that you can shape and lead an expanding electoral majority, one that "crosses the Rubicon" beyond the Democratic Party and beyond the orthodox liberal Left. A closer look at the Iowa results reveals some of the choices and challenges you face..."

She concludes:  " You say you want a revolution, Bernie? Lots of Americans do. And they're not all Democrats."

"Team of Rivals" Hold Telephone Town Hall to Intro Reform Package 

Open Primaries Arizona  sponsored a Telephone Town Hall for Arizona voters called "Fixing Arizona's Broken Political System," to learn more about two voter empowerment initiatives headed for the November 2016, ballot - nonpartisan primaries and the disclosure of Dark Money.  Participants had the opportunity to speak directly to leaders of the coalition effort.  The event was hosted by Open Primaries' Campaign Director, Patrick McWhortor. Jackie Salit was joined on the call by coalition members: former Attorney General Terry Goddard; former Mayor of Phoenix and independent Paul Johnson; attorney and community activist Danny Ortega; and Chuck Coughlin, President of High Ground Consulting. 13,837 independents from across the state joined the call, participating in a live Q&A with coalition leaders.

In coverage of the recent press conference launching the initiatives,  the media dubbed the  coalition a " team   of   rivals ," invoking the title  of  the celebrated 2005 book by Doris Kearns Goodwin about President Abraham Lincoln whose political genius was characterized by his ability to harness the strengths  of  former adversaries for the common good. 
 


Join a Regional Call

Whether you are in the Midwest, New England, West or South, you can join one of IndependentVoting.org's regional calls.
 
Cynthia Carpathios, president of Independent Ohio, leads the midwest region. Here's what she has to say about the calls which happen once a month: 
 

"Despite the great numbers of us independent voters in this country, it can be challenging to find a way to join with others who share our interest in changing the political process to support a stronger voice for independents. 

  

We have found it helpful to meet together by conference call to share what we're doing with each other and to have conversations about some of the issues we are concerned with. Our dialogues are free ranging, perhaps a little chaotic, and they help us build together from the ground up a movement for independents.  We create a space together outside of the boxy framework of either-or, Democrat or Republican -- not as a new party but a new way of relating that is not defined in these terms.  For those of you in the Midwest, we invite you to join us on our next call on Sunday, January 31st at 7:00 pm Eastern Time/6:00 pm Central Time -- contact me at ccarpathios@independentohio.org."

 
The New England region conducts a monthly call. Independents from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut are invited to join the calls.  Says New England leader Evelyn Dougherty, " We give an update on what's happening in each of our states and offer to lend support if people need to discuss a situation, have some of us travel to their state to be on the ground in some way or talk about the latest in politics nationally. I find the calls inspirational as we lend support, share a laugh and work together to build the independent movement in the great Northeast."  Contact Evelyn Dougherty at eebbdoc1@aol.com 
 
The Western Regional's next call is on Saturday, March 5 at 10:30 am PT. Cathy Stewart, IndependentVoting.org's Vice President of National Development, will be giving a special briefing on the exciting campaign in Arizona and how independents in both Arizona and elsewhere are impacting. To participate, contact Catana Barnes at ivon@gmail.com.
 
 
If you are in the South and would like to join their next regional call, contact Jamie Richardson at jamierzzz@gmail.com.
Profiles in Independence:
Jessica Lubien and Sarah Klingler, New Hampshire

This week, we feature two new activists of New Hampshire Independent Voters:
(L to R) Jessica Lubien, Sarah Klingler with Jackie Salit and Tiani Coleman

Jessica Lubien 

Originally from New York, Jessica Lubien now calls Manchester, New Hampshire home, where she resides with her husband and two boys. Jessica worked in special education before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  
    
Said Jessica: "I worked extensively on President Obama's reelection campaign in 2012. Much to my surprise, some of the other volunteers, who were staunch Democrats, didn't receive me with open arms. As a life-long Independent, my outlook didn't jive with the Democratic ideology. I had to make a conscious decision; I was going to have to "drink the cool aid," or take the "red pill" and dive down the rabbit hole of the American political system. Needless to say, I chose the latter. 
 
"The first of many books I read was Jackie Salit's book, Independents Rising and I knew I had found my home in the independent movement. As fate would have it, I was approached by Tiani X Coleman last year. With her extensive political experience and guidance I feel New Hampshire can write the next chapter in the history and evolution of the primary process. We will fight to open up the process so that every voice is heard and the voting system represents what nearly half the population desperately wants; not having to align themselves with a political party to cast a simple vote."
 
Sarah Klingler
 
Sarah Klingler is from Salem, New Hampshire and works for a non-profit trade association based out of Bedford. Says Sarah, " My affinity for politics lights a passion inside me.  I've always considered myself an independent, and that voting is my civic duty and personal responsibility.   In my naiveté I simply assumed that independent voters (or "Undecided" in New Hampshire) would have the same rights and political freedom as any other registered voter.  Unfortunately, with each election (local and national), I discover more and more obstacles in place to limit the voting freedoms of Independents.  
 
"I am fed up with the control and blind political power that the two party system is allowed.  Our town, state and national laws perpetuate the political stronghold of the two parties.   I am involved with New Hampshire Independent Voters because I can no longer subscribe to the apathy that plagues our society.   I am compelled to act; compelled to get involved and do something; compelled to work for a better nation, for the collective respect of all voters and for the rights of Independent voters everywhere (regardless of their political views)." 
In the News
  • Arizona Horizon's host Ted Simons welcomed three members of the Open and Honest Elections Coalition to talk about the two initiatives they are bringing to the November 2016 ballot.  Watch them here on PBS
     
  • Barbara Patrizzi wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer (second from bottom), " Independents Should Change the System."  
Next "Politics for the People" Book Announced

 

 
Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
IndependentVoting.org 
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