Be an Opportunity Voter!
Thanks for your interest in becoming an Opportunity Voter! Our shared plan to connect more young adults to school and careers, as well as our commitment to improve Opportunity Index Scores in all communities, requires action from elected officials at all levels of government, including mayors, governors and Members of Congress. And you can help! Right now! Because we are less than a month away from the election, candidates and officials are listening very closely and responding to the public – it’s a great time for you to engage.
How? Bring five people to a candidate’s forum and ask Opportunity Voter questions. We’ve provided some example questions to get you started, but please feel free to add your own questions. You can also share your questions on social media channels! Use #Vote4Opportunity or change your profile picture to a photo of you holding this #Vote4Opportunity sign!
I'm supporting a bipartisan campaign called Opportunity Nation that believes we should come together around common sense solutions to make sure everyone has access to the American Dream. My question is:
1. How will you repair the ladder of opportunity? In your opinion, what constitutes an "opportunity nation" where all Americans have a chance at success? What will be your 3 highest priorities for repairing ladders of opportunity for everyone if elected?
2. How will you protect opportunity programs during the pending “fiscal cliff?” Several programs have a proven track record of reconnecting young adults to education and employment opportunities, but only a fraction of the programs can meet the demand. As we face the pending "fiscal cliff" with significant cuts looming, what programs and priorities will you protect in the budget to ensure all Americans have access to opportunity?
3. How will you reauthorize and reform education legislation? We know education is a critical pathway to economic security, and there will be many opportunities to reform and reauthorize existing legislation in 2013. How do you plan to support better alignment of education with good sustainable career pathways?
4. How will you reconnect young adults to school and work? The Opportunity Index shows that communities struggle when young adults aren't succeeding. Some 7 million young people age 16-24 are currently not connected to school or work. How can we reconnect these young people to ensure all of our players are on the field contributing to our economy?
5. How will you make training beyond high school stronger, more accessible, and more affordable? What steps will you take to ensure that the rising generation has access to the American Dream? Specifically, how do we make higher education more affordable, elevate good career and technical education programs, and make sure everyone who wants to can access a credential, degree or other training beyond high school?
Guide for Attending Town Hall or Campaign Events
Bird-dogging is a tactic used to directly engage policy-makers when they make public appearances at campaign events, town meetings, or speeches. The aim is to educate them about the local impact economic opportunity and social mobility in their district and ask them for their support while they are in front of their constituents, voters, and the media.
Bird-dogging seeks answers from policymakers when they are “outside of the protective bubble of Washington.” This tactic can also be used to influence legislators at the state and local level, mayors, governors and Members of Congress when legislation important to your organization is being considered.
1. Get an event Find out where candidates and elected officials are planning to make appearances by monitoring campaign websites and email lists, calling staff members, and checking local media.
2. Get a posse Having a group of advocates attend an event, rather than just one individual, will minimize any intimidation you might feel and will also increase the chances you will be able to ask questions of the policymakers.
3. Get a plan together with your crew Plan and practice your strategy in advance with your fellow opportunity voters. Write down the questions you intend to ask. Strategize on value of signs and other materials, including our shared plan, as necessitated by the type of event.
4. Get good seats, which means arriving early! Get seats as close to where the policymaker will speak as possible. Have your fellow bird-doggers spread out: it will increase the number of questions you will be able to ask.
5. Get your hand up first, fast, and high Putting your hand up first is critical to being called on during a Q&A session. Do so even before the speaker or moderator asks for questions.
6. Get a handshake, picture, video, and answer! Handshake lines present opportunities for taking photos and following up or asking the politician a question. You can also video record your question to get the answer on the record!
7. Get quoted Speak to the press with prepared statements and your thoughts on how the policymaker addressed your issue of concern.
8. Get a report out Publicize your efforts and the results among other advocates. Let them know what you did and said and how the policymaker responded.
Our nation has renewed the American Dream many times throughout our history. With your help we can do it again!