July 10, 2006

Will Reynolds for Sangamon County Board

I'm making a big exception to my self-imposed rule here and actually coming out and endorsing a candidate.

Will Reynolds, a former anonymous blogger, and a great one at that, is now turning his political skills and interests into more direct action by running for a seat on the Sangamon County Board.

Reynolds is a case study in the skillful and effective use of the internet in building a political campaign.

He first ran a very popular and well written blog for quite some time. It provided a wealth of discussion of various news and issues of concern to his area and allowed him to research issues and formulate positions as well as gage reader opinion.

Will quit running his very successful blog when he began entertaining thoughts of running for office. He was also planning to work as a campaign consultant and felt that for both of those reasons, he could no longer ethically run an anonymous blog.

After that, he began the Springfield chapter of Drinking Liberally which has enjoyed great success, and no doubt provided a core of supporters and advisors which provided help and encouragement in his desire to run for office. Reynolds has a host of other accomplishments as well.

The Reynolds candidacy is now established and has both a well-done campaign website and an excellent blog up and running.

Both are sterling examples of what candidates can do to leverage the power of the internet in their outreach, communications, and fund-raising efforts, even at the level of county board. (It doesn't have to be fancy, just well-designed and laid out.)

The website contains the basic elements which provide viewers and voters crucial information, such as a candidate bio, current news and press coverage, events, and a brief statement about what the campaign is about.

The blog allows Reynolds to feature issues of concern and discuss his views on them. This of course, provides an openness which is a valuable service to voters trying to assess their choices. I think such efforts will be very well received by voters.

It's not for everyone though. Such a service would be avoided by a politician who had no real knowledge of or ability to discuss details of any issues or who simply waits to see what his biggest contributors tell him his positions are. In that respect, it's in such as politician's best interests to keep the public in the dark on issues as well as their positions on them, and I'm sure some would avoid a campaign blog like the plague.

Bearing that in mind, a politician with a blog is a breath of fresh air, progressive, and an effective step away from entrenched, stagnant, business as usual politicians and their campaigns which seek to avoid explaining positions on issues beyond the bland, unimaginative, meaningless, generic and predictable platitudes which serve as the foundation of their campaigns. (I'm for jobs. I like kids, I like "family values", etc.)

If any of you are in Sangamon county or if you simply want to support a knowledgeable, personable, quality Democratic candidate who's not mired in the past, knows what the internet is, and isn't afraid to use it, please give Will your support.

As his slogan states, "Where there's a WILL, there's a way."

PS: As an aside, I heard something Sunday which cracked me up in a sad sort of way. Evidently, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Bridge to Nowhere) described the internet as, "a collection of tubes".

There ya go Senator. Reminded me of old Strom Thurmond, addressing a participant in a senate hearing whom he couldn't hear, telling them to "speak into the machine!", by which he meant the microphone.

Yeah, there's history in the Senate alright. Some of them are right out of the 70s, or as in Thurmond's case, the 1870s.


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