How to Change the World

John Ransom
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Posted: Oct 24, 2012 12:01 AM

I bet you thought I was going to say "Go out and vote for Romney."

Yeah you can do that TOO, but if you really want to push back all the hopey changey stuff, here's a better idea: Get involved in politics at the local level.

Run for school board or town council and REALLY be a conservative.

Shut down the corporate welfare types at the local Chamber of Communists, tell the teachers union "no," kill that library tax that will go to subsidizing the checkout of thrilling educational videos like Desperate Housewives, Sex in the City and Dark Shadows.

These are the battles on which future election contests hinge.

Here's what we did in 2009, from the Denver Post:

Voters turned out in record numbers for the school-board election in Douglas County, electing four new members who had been endorsed by the Republican Party.

"Voters spoke pretty darn loudly, and we'd be well advised to listen to what they say," said John Ransom, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee.

Piton Foundation education program manager Van Schoales, who said he's been watching the Douglas County race from a distance, described the new board members as a group of "free marketeers."

"It appears they are the kind of people more likely to upset the apple cart and try to make changes, and less likely to say 'You're doing a pretty good job, but we may want to tweak some things.'"

The election results surprised him.

"It's hard to win on a reform platform" in a district where "kids are already performing above average," Schoales said. "It suggests something is very broken."

By the most recent tally, nearly 46,000 people voted in the Tuesday school board election, compared to 26,000 in 2007. About 50 percent of the county's 184,875 voters are registered as Republican. About 21 percent are Democrats; the rest are right-leaning Independents, Ransom said.
 
Yes, the estblishment types have a way of being very surprised when you kick the stuffing out of them.
 
Here are a few of the results:
 
Colorado’s Douglas County School District Board of Education voted unanimously to create the Pilot Choice Scholarship Program, beginning in fall 2011
 

Douglas County breaks with teachers union

I left the position as chairman shortly after the election because I believe in term limits- and let's just say that accomplishing all that in half a term was enough for me.

But there are two points very important for grassroots activists to understand.

Change at the local level is possible for those who willing to put together coalitions of like-minded people to work  toward a common end.

And, you are never really done with that work at the local level:

I work now with a local group called Parent Led Reform which is expanding in Colorado as well as into other states in order to take back school districts one-by-one.

Our growth was featured this week in a local newspaper, Colorado Community News:

But PLR board director Ransom said it does not work hand-in-hand with the school board.

“We're not connected to anybody, including the Douglas County School Board,” said Ransom, whose son attends Mountain Vista High School. “There's certainly some like-mindedness going on here. But I can tell you from the time they got elected until now, I've maybe had a half-dozen conversations with those guys.

“We are concerned about things at the local level. We're not part of a bigger organization, but a small, grassroots organization that is having some success.”

Ransom believes the need for education reform crosses not only the political aisle, but spans demographic divides.

“I don't think anybody would say K-12 education is adequate here in the United States,” he said. “We have to do something. The thing we're saying is, if we can't take these real simple steps in a place like Douglas County in order to improve public education, what hope does a place like Denver have?”

For more tips on getting involved shoot me an email or just read me regularly.