Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Congressional Candidate Taps AJ Resident to Coordinate Nationwide Phone Bank

For Immediate Release
Date: 10/28/14—
Congressional Candidate Taps AJ Resident to Coordinate Nationwide Phone Bank

Apache Junction, AZ – Heading into the final phase of the campaign, upstart progressive Democratic Congressional candidate Mikel Weisser has called on Apache Junction activist, Barbara Njos, to coordinate his national phone bank program.  Weisser, the Democratic populist Kingman area activist recently earned an endorsement from the Progressive Democrats of America (commonly referred to as PDA) for his challenge in Arizona’s 4th Congressional seat. 

It was an honor uncommon for a tiny grassroots campaign such as Weisser’s and it came with a huge challenge when it came to creating an outreach program for a district of 700,000 people spread over seven counties and forty thousand square miles. “It’s Yuma to Utah, Parker to Payson, the central highlands and all the area around Phoenix where the people aren’t,” Weisser laughs.  With major cities in the district, such as Bullhead City and Florence being as much as 300 miles apart, the logistics of effectively reaching all the corners of the district required a phone calling operations of epic scale.

Enter PDA’s phone-banking dynamo, Apache Junction’s own Barbara Njos (pronounced “Naws”).  A longtime local activist and leader in the national organization of PDA, Barbara has logged in thousands of calls over the years. Working not only for PDA and the state party, but Njos also is a leader in the Apache Junction’s contingent of the Pinal County Democratic Party and has made phone calls for every one of those groups. “Phone banking is a key part of any political campaign,” Njos explained, “It gets the message out directly to voters. It connects you to people.” 

A member of the Arizona Democratic Party’s executive board, Njos has been in the leadership of many of the state’s party’s progressive groups over the past two decades including Citizens for a Better Arizona, the End the War Coalition, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Change, Habitat for Humanity, and the international women’s peace & economic justice activist group Code Pink. “Mikel and I first met in 2007 in DC at a Code Pink protest against the Iraq War. Since that first meeting we have become good friends. We share values that support the middle class and want life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to actually be something our country aspires to once more.”

Weisser was thrilled to get the chance to develop his relationship with Njos. “Barb is a mentor and a hero to me and a generation of AZ activists. PDA is the national leader of the progressive movement and I have been a proud member,willing to come the 400 mile round trip to join their events; but I never expected to rise to a position of leadership, much less being an endorsed candidate.” When Weisser originally started developing his 2014 campaign, Njos provided a base in the Apache Junction end of the district. With a budget that was a fraction of a typical congressional campaign, the PDA endorsement came as a blessing and a challenge. “PDA was willing to use their resources to help us create massive phone bank, as big as we wanted; but it was up to us to run it. Thank god for Barbara.”

Juggling her various phone commitments along w her other activist work, has been rewarding for Barb. “Every time I connect to someone who may not have been in agreement with me but we can reach one, it’s a victory. I learn a lot.” With volunteers scattered from Oregon to Florida, many who will never meet each other, the logistics are sometimes hard to work out, but Njos appreciates the challenge. “Leading the phone banking for Mikel has allowed me to take his message to more people and give them the opportunity to understand his work can help all Arizonans.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­"

This round of phone banking may end the night of the election, but the Mikel Weisser campaign has already committed to a run for the 2016 cycle. “I may not be the guy who dethrones Gosar, but I am not stopping till he is out of office.” Njos has also committed to the challenge for the foreseeable future. “We need to return our country to the vision that the founding fathers had.”

For more on the Mikel Weisser for US Congress Campaign:

For further information contact:

Mikel Weisser
4490 Sundown Drive
So-Hi, AZ 86413
Paid for by the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Guest Blog for Howie Klein & Blue America

I never guessed that when I stumbled into politics I would ever get to speak w a figure like Howie Klein. A creator of our culture as a music promoter, political columnist/activist and now the founder of Blue America, Klein is proof positive that the artist can and continues to change the world.

After being encouraged to approach him from my state party executive director, DJ Quinlan, Klein and I talked about my race and their program and though it was too late for them to add me to their slate for the 2014 cycle, we are discussing the 2016 cycle and he asked me to write a guest blog, a quick little pitch to their readership. Some of this was developed based on Rob Kall's transcript of my recent Op-Ed News interview. I don't know if he'll end up running it, but I know I am happy w what I've said.

Howdy, my name is Mikel Weisser. I am the Democratic candidate for US House in AZ’s 4th Congressional District, the rugged-est, reddest, most redneck part of America’s reddest state, Arizona. I’m a native Texan, a former teen runaway, former ditch-digger, homeless vet, and junior high social studies teacher. I grew up in a small town near the border of Mexico. About 15 yrs ago I moved to AZ from Illinois por que yo hablo poquito espanol. I share my humble beginnings because I believe the beauty of the American Dream is that a man can remake himself and make a better world if he tries.

I also believe for many, many people, this pitch is coming so late in the cycle, you think it’s a joke. “Hey, look at me way out in AZ demanding your attention, gimme all your money and your time!” Sure. I understand. But here in this last minute, I am doing exactly that, asking you to think about Arizona & my campaign. Let me tell you why.

You should know, from the first, I am a tremendously outmatched underdog. The GOP literally has double the number of registered voters, a 30 yr dynasty, and lots of Bubbas who like being bullies out here … and that none of that scares me a bit. My opponent Paul Gosar (AZ-04) is a Tea Party incumbent talking head willing to wreck the whole country to score political points.

He’s the kind of guy who would travel to Cliven Bundy’s ranch to do a photo op – to hug it out with him, to show support for the Bundy agenda, conservative values agenda--a mouthpiece, an echo chamber for every tea party-right wing-fundamentalist talking point that’s come through the news stream. He voted against the ACA 54 times; voted against protection of women against domestic violence; voted against minimum wage; voted to shut down the government twice; voted to impeach Holder/censure Holder; calls for the impeachment of Obama, on and on and on and on ad naseum. Half the words in half of his speeches are “Benghazi,” the other half are “IRS.” He’s that kind of guy.

I’m the kind of guy who left my careers as a teacher & slam poet/arts organizer to devote my full time efforts to changing America using the political process. I’m the kind of guy who is leading AZ’s cannabis reform movement by building the greenest possible grassroots coalition, who plays my own guitar on the protest songs at our rallies, who hand-paints his own signs and does his own lit-drop, who travels the state to promote issues like LGBT rights, the performing arts, immigration and education in a rickety old van with more than 200,000 miles on it, who is not afraid to sleep on the floor sometimes if that’s what it takes … and who has developed the faith of a network of dozens of devoted, inspired and inspiring volunteers around the state who feed me, house me, make zillions of phone calls on my behalf and are dedicated to making my campaign about making a difference, not politics as usual.

I know, it sounds great, but why care about my song and dance w 434 other federal races to watch? Well, I could go on about how unusual, how bold, how intriguing and how much fun our approach is. I could tell you Wild Bunch Media’s Jennifer Smith has called my race “the most amazing human interest story in congressional politics,” but if you just click the links below, you can decide on that for yourself.

I could tell you about the endorsements I’ve gained from PDA’s national office, DFA’s AZ chapter, Stonewall Democrats of AZ, Congressman Raul Grijalva, Brave New Films, and over a dozen other AZ legislators and leaders. And now, Howie Klein has given me this chance as well. Here’s the secret truth of why my race is important: I’m not just trying to win an election, I’m trying to change the world and it so happens in AZ in this election cycle, my loud mouthed idealist campaign could be the final push it takes to drive several of our statewide candidates over the top. If I and the legislative candidates that I’m working with and the state party efforts come together the way we want, we can affect the outcome of some really critical state elections. 

Right now, 2014 cycle, Arizonans are electing their governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, the education guy, the corporation commission people. In 2012 we didn’t win any statewide races; but after two years of working all those races are competitive. In my primary two months ago, there was a shift of 23,000 votes away from the GOP towards me and there was only 85,000 votes cast. He still has the lead, but it’s closer and it’s close enough where it can start to matter for our statewide candidates – Fred DuVal is running for Governor; and Felecia Rotellini running for Attorney General, Terry Goddard running for Secretary of State. These races are close enough so a strong rural turnout, along with what we already have going in the urban districts, can change the outcome of the statewide race.

In 2006, we won the governorship in a state that’s predominantly re­publican. Janet Napolitano was expected to be defeated; but the rural parties turned it around. Whether or not it’s about Mikel Weisser becoming congressman, it’s definitely about getting some progressive values in a state that’s famous for being racist and redneck and anti-progressives.

So there it is--a numbers game, a quirky chance to play a percentage and maybe upset the GOP’s whole elephant parade. If you choose to get involved, there are a lot of ways to get involved: 1st and foremost, go to my website, browse around the You Tube channel and look before you act. I may be too wild for you, seriously. If not: share, share, share, click, like, retweet—especially w your maven friends, especially w folks in media. We are earning our media. 2) If you’ve ever volunteered on a PDA virtual phone bank or want the experience and can invest two hours, we’d love to have you. 3) If you want to give me money, use Act Blue, hundreds already have and we could really use it. In fact we need money as much, if not more, than any of those folks who’ll blitz your inbox every day and beg and plead. I didn’t come here to beg and plead, only to change the world.

Favorite Candidate Profile:
“Weisser: Running for office worth the risk”
Most Famous Candidate Profile:
“Dabber in the House? Yes, if AZ's CD4 Voters Elect Democrat Mikel Weisser”
(On my cannabis reform work)

Facing Down the GOP Bullies:
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2014 style (You Tube Video):
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2012 (same audience):

Safer AZ site: http://saferarizona.com/

Don’t hesitate to contact me.
THX again,
Mikel Weisser
4490 Sundown Dr
So-Hi, AZ 86413

Paid for by Mikel Weisser for US Congress