Cecil Bothwell is ranked #5 of 69
I'm a decidedly liberal elected official who believes in public service and representing the people who elected me.
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My political story
In my second term on Asheville's City Council and former primary candidate for NC 11 Congressional seat. Organizer of Dean meet-ups in 2003-4. Organizer of Asheville's Rolling Thunder Downhome Democracy event with Jim Hightower in 2003. Founding member and treasurer of the People Advocating Real Change PAC in Western North Carolina, our region's most effective progressive activist network.
Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship
I've been a liberal activist for decades, a blogger since before it was called "blogging" with an online newsletter beginning in 1994. I'm something of a lightning rod as an elected official, constantly pulling the discussion toward the left, toward the green, toward the social justice goals we need to achieve. I will use what I learn at Netroots to move the goal posts here in North Carolina.
What first inspired me to get involved
I initiated my newsletter to engender the political and social conversations we now take for granted in blogs. After many years as a writer, newspaper editor and reporter, I decided to use what I'd learned covering local government to contribute at the local level. When our blue dog Dem congressman Heath Shuler continually voted with Republicans, I decided someone had to challenge him - and when my campaign showed some success, he decided to retire (but perhaps he was simply cashing in for a job with Duke Energy, and not responding to our campaign).
The blog post I am most proud of
The biggest event I personally organized was Asheville's Rolling Thunder Downhome Democracy Tour event in 2003 with Jim Hightower, Granny D, Eric Alterman and Doctor Patch Adams as principal speakers, with over 50 nonprofit groups participating in a weekend of events. That same year I helped organize the largest anti-war event in Asheville, preceding the Iraq war.
More about my political involvement
I'm a fairly active DFA member as elections come and go. Much of my attention is on local and regional races here. As a founding member of People Advocating Real Change I have helped in numerous political and issue campaigns here. We hand-printed (silk-screen) and distributed over 6,000 Obama signs in 2008 in WNC when the national campaign ran out of signs. And distributed nearly that many in 2012. For a decade I've on the board of directors of Biblioworks.org -which builds libraries in rural Bolivia, and on the board of Projecto de las Escuelas Guatamaltecas - which funds and builds grade schools in rural Guatemala. Via City Council I serve on the Housing and Community Development committee (which funds affordable housing), and the Public Safety Committee (which oversees the Police and Fire Departments -and has been dealing with significant racial and gender issues in those departments). I wrote the only critical political biography of Billy Graham (The Prince of War) and my investigative reporting is widely credited with helping to put a crooked sheriff into federal prison.
How I've gotten others involved
I have one of the largest e-mail lists in the region thanks to my years of online activism and organizing. My City Council campaigns and Congressional campaign garnered the largest pool of small donors in local history. For congress we raised over $100,000 with average donations of $65.
Why I think participation in the netroots is important
Netroots Nation is the real deal in progressive and online organizing. I was able to attend the event in Providence and came away better informed and more inspired.
My Twitter manifesto on online activism
Online activism works when recipients know the people they are interacting with. Blind blasts fail.
If I could design a bumper sticker it would say:
My wild idea for a cool new action
I'd post the petition we are currently circulating in Asheville urging preservation of a significant downtown space for use as a park instead of for commercial development. We need a downtown park.
I am a