(Bumped because with everything else going on, this is the most important thing we can be doing to grow our party in Massachusetts. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
“A house is only as good as its foundation,” “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church (Matt 16:18).” and countless other sayings explain the importance of a solid foundation upon which to build an organization. In politics that foundation is the precinct captain. The person responsible for making sure a political party’s message gets out to the people in his/her precinct.
Do you know who your precinct captain is? Probably not, and that is one of our major problems as Republicans in Massachusetts. We can have the better message, we can have the better candidate, but as we saw in 2010, if we are not good at getting that message to the voters we will lose.
Peter Fullerton, of Swift Current Strategies and the political director on the Scott Brown Campaign, had the following to say on the subject, “We need to work on identifying voters and then make sure they turnout. This doesn’t happen in just a few weeks or months before Election Day. We need to start organizing, recruiting, and training activists right now.”
It is imperative that we build a precinct structure in Massachusetts, and our party leadership should treat Precinct Captains with the same level of respect they do maxed out donors.
Since we in Massachusetts don’t have precinct captains on the Republican side, you may be asking yourself, “what does a precinct captain do?.” M. David Johnson has a good explination in his Precinct Captain Manual.
“Elections are won at the local level. That is where the hard work pays off.
“You are important.
“Your job as a Republican precinct leader is an extremely important one. In many respects, you are the Republican Party within your neighborhood. You represent Republican voters in your precinct. You play a pivotal role in selecting and electing Republican candidates for a wide variety of responsible positions, ranging from United States Congress to city council to school board. You are the first and, in many ways, the most important link in the chain which makes up our representative form of government.
“Touch the voter.
“All politics is personal. As the Party’s most direct link with the voter, you are responsible for establishing a neighbor-to-neighbor rapport with the residents in your precinct. These people may often seek your counsel as they make election decisions. A good precinct leader will try to visit every home in the precinct. Always leave a calling card of some kind.
You may be telling yourself, well why on earth would we start building out a precinct capatin organization in an off year? Because that is the best time to do it. It will allow your town or city committee to test run the organization the precinct captain puts together.
There are numerous opportunities for door to door contact this year. Your town or city most probably has a local, municipal election, this year. Your new precinct structure can help elect a Republican to a local board, or council. You may have a town meeting, use your precinct structure to knock on doors to tell their neighbors about something being discussed at the meeting, or what the unfunded pension liability means to them personally. There are many reasons this year to go door to door.
Also the precinct captain should be the one to personally welcome new Republicans and unenrolleds to the neighborhood. Go to town hall once every couple of weeks and pull the new voter registrations and personally go welcome them to the neighborhood.
We’ve got 20 months before the 2012 elections, the time to build our neglected infrastructure is now. At your next town or city committee meeting, in between arguing about solving all the world’s problems, assign people to be precinct capatins.