Victory Fund Campaign Candidate Training
November 30 - December 4, 2011
Dyane Burgos and Gustavo Medina
The training put on by Victory Fund is an intensive and revered program. We arrived on a Wednesday evening and did not see the light of day until Saturday evening. There were 19 segments that presented various topics from “Deciding to Run” to “Get Out the Vote”. There were some that really captured our attention and others that required a little extra caffeine. Dyane really enjoyed the presentation on “Running as An Openly LGBT Candidate” where there were skits teaching how to respond to questions about sexual orientation and a very moving presentation by Fort Worth Council Member Joel Burns. Joel made us laugh during his speech but also moved the crowd to tears when speaking about what his mother experienced when he ran as an openly gay male for office. Gustavo quickly became interested in the many topics that revolved around working in the field. They presented useful strategies to address identifying how many votes needed to win, who to target, and when to begin field operations. The presenters included professional campaign workers from both major political parties. Their specialties ranged from media relations to campaign management.
We were split up when we were placed into groups. Gustavo worked as the field director of his team. He analyzed numbers based on a break-down of voters in various made up regions and developed a strategy that involved mailings, campaign events, and door to door canvassing. In addition to campaign training, Gustavo was able to get more acquainted with and sensitive to LGBT needs. At the end of the training, the President and CEO of the Victory Fund (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute), informed us of the name change of the organization. One of Gustavo’s team mates shared that he was glad to hear of the name change because he had felt left out by the terminology used in the title. Gustavo’s team mate was a transgender male and taught Gustavo that the “T”s felt left out of LGBT as they often do.
Dyane worked in her group as the director of finance. No one in her team knew how to run numbers so she quickly taught herself and put together a budget and fundraising presentation for the mock campaign. Budgeting was not the area she had the strongest interest in but she picked up the slack for the team. She coordinated where the money would be fundraised and planned where to spend the money on the campaign. It was a very valuable area for training. Dyane also became more sensitive around LGBT concerns as she had some in depth conversations with her gay, lesbian, and transgender team mates and roommate. Dyane made friends with a woman running for “State House” in Colorado which is the equivalent of the California State Assembly. She asked a lot of detailed questions about Susan Eggman’s campaign and was shocked by the amount of work involved. She was fascinated by the campaigning and even offered to house Dyane and Gustavo if they flew to Colorado to help out on the campaign.
The training was an amazing experience. At the end we went for a walk just to feel the fresh air touch our skin and enter our lungs. We were exhilarated by the training and came out with a renewed sense of dedication and purpose for the Eggman campaign. Gustavo will be working on the campaign as the Field Director and Dyane will be working as the Director of Volunteer Activities on the Susan Eggman for State Assembly 2012 campaign.