Michelle Elmer is ranked #37 of 69
I'm a progressive political activist. I've worked on several campaigns and served in various capacities in numerous organizations.
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My political story
My story began before I was born actually - I have roots in organized labor on both sides of my family; my maternal grandfather's family were proud union members and active in the socialist party. Many of these political attributes trickled down to me, and although I registered to vote on my 18th birthday (thanks Mom!) and always voted Democratic, it wasn't until I was halfway through my undergraduate education that I started to get seriously involved in politics. I started with my college young democrats (Cal State Northridge Young Democrats) chapter, and while I was involved not only served as a board member (my first time ever in any sort of organization), but started my foray into working on electoral campaigns and got to go as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. After I graduated, I continued my work in young democrats and with the party - I not only am a board member for San Fernando Valley Young Democrats (formally grants, now external affairs director) and the Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus (secretary), I'm on the board of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, one of the largest local party organizations in the state. In addition, I've continue my work on several local campaigns as well, and am currently assisting on a local city council race, making sure the most progressive candidate wins. Plus, I'm very active with my local Planned Parenthood affiliate - I've done community outreach promoting their health centers as a volunteer, lobbied in the state capital on their behalf, and serve on the board the young professionals group based at their Los Angeles headquarters.
Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship
I’ve known about Netroots Nation for awhile, but have never had the opportunity to attend a conference; there was always something that came up – either I was working on a campaign or had another event to travel to. While I’ve been to several political conferences and conventions, I’m interested in attending something that sounds a little different to learn more about another progressive and political grassroots community. I want to learn to how to expand my activism in other ways, and bring that back to the groups and organizations that I’m also involved in. Expense is also another reason – traveling around the country can get pricey after awhile, and as someone not currently employed, anything that eases the burden helps out greatly.
What first inspired me to get involved
While I've been a life-long Democrat and have voted in every election, it wasn't until I transfer to my alma mater that I really started to get involved. When I went back to school, there was a major budget crisis going on in statewide higher education that was freezing enrollment and cutting class selection - which presented me with a scenario that if I didn't finish now, I might never (and my start ended up being delayed for a year due to a paperwork mix-up) This combined with my desire to do something on campus that could make a difference in my community inspired me to seek out my college's young democrat chapter, and it pretty much went from there.
The blog post I am most proud of
Last fall in the midst of a “red wave” that was sweeping the county during the midterms, I worked as a field organizer reaching out to union member households in a very purple area that not only helped re-elect first term Congresswoman Julia Brownley, but switched an assembly seat from red to blue and got our very progressive State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson re-elected as well too (who was facing a very corporate challenger getting lots of money from Wall Street sources) It was nice helping buck the national “red” tide trend.
More about my political involvement
I'm currently on the board of several political and progressive organizations, and serve as a democratic state party delegate representing my assembly district. (see "my political story" for more info) I've worked on several campaigns as well, ranging from local (mayor/city council), state-wide (assembly, other offices) and national (congress, presidential)
How I've gotten others involved
I promote the organizations I serve on the board of a lot, which in turn has helped grow membership for these groups.
Why I think participation in the netroots is important
I think participation in Netroots is important, because no matter what your level of involvement is, you can always learn more and it's a great way to engage with other progressive activists.
I am a