October 18, 2006

Boland aide launchs campaign blog

Mike Huntoon, Rep. Mike Boland's chief of staff, has created a campaign blog that he's named "Serving the 71st District with Mike Boland" subtitled "The on-going story of a public servant working to make a difference in people's lives . . ."

Huntoon's done a good job in creating a sort of "campaign notebook" to keep folks up to date with Rep. Boland and his campaign, complete with pictures, accounts of events, and other news.

It's a fine example of how a basic blog can be used to augment a campaign by reaching more people, attracting more interest, and increasing visibility for a candidate and their campaign. The nature of a blog makes it a great tool for candidates and campaigns to stay in touch with their supporters and the general public and adds another avenue for publicity and communication.

Websites, Blogs, a MySpace page, or some other form of interactive website are already being used by hundreds of serious campaigns. They increasingly utilize streaming video clips and other multimedia to attract and inform voters.

Some candidates are likely too locked into old style thinking and their ignorance of the web, how it works, and it's potential causes them to be unable to appreciate the opportunity it offers for campaigns. Rather than looking for new ways to communicate and reach out to the public, these candidates may feel that the less contact the better, and would rather stick to the occasional mailing and yard signs as the only campaign communication with the public.

Once they see other's doing it successfully and realize that the public both appreciates it and will increasingly begin to expect it, they may gradually come tagging along into the 20th century.

Hats off to Mike Huntoon and the Boland campaign for having the foresight and initiative to make use of this useful and increasingly common campaign tool.

The site's URL is http://mikeboland.blogspot.com and has been added to the blogroll in the sidebar for future reference.


At 10/18/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

A note to the person who is relentlessly making wild accusations and/or trying to spread dirt. Unless you can provide even the slightest evidence or a source, it's not going to be published here. Give it up.

At 10/18/2006 12:23 PM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

Thank you TID for posting a link to my new blog.

I believe in giving credit where it's due, so I must thank you for the inspiration. It was the example you set here at the Inside Dope that brought me into the blogging world.

Thank you!

At 10/19/2006 4:47 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Huntoon, you are a professional and you have a great future ahead of you either with or without Mike.

You are Mike's best defense. In this last 3 weeks, you guys will have a lot of crazies coming at you, so keep your chin up and only deal in facts and stay on message and if anyone is "disagreeable", be curt and move on.

A lot of times I hear how various politicians have great constituent service. Tell me, have you ever known of any legislators or congressmen who DON'T have good constituent service?? I haven't -I mean it seems to me like that is a given, ya know?

Tell me Huntoon, is Citizen Action still in existence? (Without Bob Creamer) Where are their offices? Is it the same strategy, I mean do they still send crews out to little towns, armed with clipboards, to shake down little old ladies to "back up your signature with a small donation?"

At 10/19/2006 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creamer was eventually sent to jail for corruption.

At 10/19/2006 6:51 PM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

It SHOULD be a given that Legislators put together staff to provide good constituent services, but it isn't always the case.

I really can't name names, but once when Mike Boland was traveling to an awards ceremony (or similar event - it was a while back) a fair drive from here, I called another State Rep's office to coordinate. I spoke to a staff person who was literally so simple they couldn't get a one sentence message correct after I repeated it slowly three or four times, and they finally they asked that I just call back another time!

I've heard that some office staff are hired for political purposes rather than practical ones, but again I can't provide specific examples, just horror stories spread thru the "grapevine".

And I would also think that the kind of constituent services provided are different in various parts of the state. I know that in Chicago a State Rep. is a relative nobody compared to their Alderman and/or Ward organization. I've heard they are likely to give a lot of referrals to their Alderman etc., because that's where much of the power and ability to get things done lays.

It also varies from office to office and person to person how far they are willing to go to serve the people. I'd like to think we go the extra mile at Mike's, but I'm admittedly biased.

What I do know 100% for sure, is that sometimes it feels a bit like we are fencing windmills. As I often tell folks on the phone, I can only guarantee my effort on their behalf, I can never guarantee the result.

At 10/20/2006 7:13 AM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

Bob Creamer was sent to jail for writing bad checks to try and keep his non-profit organization afloat, that's perhaps a little bit different from outright "corruption".

I am not writing that to excuse or condone his actions, simply to set the record straight.

My parting of ways with Citizen Action happened at the same time Bob's check writing problem surfaced. I truly believed in the concept that regular people need a lobbying voice in Springfield and D.C., in fact I'd have to say I still believe in the concept.

But even when called and asked to return to the "new" Citizen Action after Bob Creamer's demise, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

For the record, I was involved in a wage loss claim thru the Department of Labor against Citizen Action, that was finally settled in my favor with the Assistance of the Attorney General's office, so I'm probably not their favorite person anymore. ;)

At 10/20/2006 8:33 PM, Blogger Rich Miller said...

Just hoping that Mr. Huntoon approves my comment on the Boland Blog. Also hoping that Rep. Boland provides some answers to my questions.

At 10/21/2006 10:35 AM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

Dear Rich,

I responded with answers to the questions where I knew the answer, but I am not the campaign's official spokesperson, nor am I the Representative's official spokesperson.

For answers to an entire list of questions like you submitted, I really think you'd be better served submitting them directly to Mike Boland or to his campaign office.

BTW - I don't get down to Springfield a lot, but I remember meeting you when I was waiting in line to file petitions at the State Board of Election in 1998.

Mike Huntoon

At 10/23/2006 7:12 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

So you are Bolands "Chief of Staff", but you are NOT his "Official Spokesperson"?? Tell me, how does that work?

At 10/23/2006 9:34 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico, at the risk of jumping in here for Huntoon, I'd say that it's not exactly tough to figure out that one can be a "chief of staff" without being an official spokesman.

I fail to see how that's hard to believe. I'm sure Boland has "spokesmen" who deal with the press as part of their job.

Running Boland's local legislative office doesn't exactly mean you're the candidates official spokesperson, does it?

I think Huntoon is simply speaking as an individual and trying to set the record straight when people attempt to put out false spin against his boss.

But of course, Huntoon can speak for himself.

At 10/24/2006 8:23 AM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

When it comes to being a "spokesperson", I can usually count on Mike Boland speaking to the media in person. Even when Mike would be comfortable with me making comments to media, I prefer to allow him to comment instead. In part, this is because I believe the voters who elected Mike deserve to hear from him directly.

The title "Chief of Staff" is more a measure of trust between Boland and I than anything else. I organize and coordinate the efforts of staff for Mike's legislative affairs. I am not his campaign manager, and my actual involvement in campaign activities is primarily as a volunteer.

Rich Miller knows how to contact Mike Boland without having to resort to messages on blogs. The purpose of my blog was not to become the primary point of contact between Boland and the media.

My blog was meant to be a place where folks can drop in to check on the activities of their State Rep, and as a sort of virtual record of my own service to the people of the 71st district in association with Representative Boland.

Some folks have misunderstood the title and by-line to a small extent. The tagline "The on-going story of a public servant working to make a difference in people's lives . . ." actually was meant as a reference to me, rather than to Boland. I don't mind if folks think it was a reference to Mike, but the final intent for the blog is a little more personal for me than perhaps people have understood. In fact the title, "Serving the 71st with Mike Boland" was also meant to refer to me.

Yes, I did start this blog at an opportune time for Mike’s campaign, it happened that way because I’ve only become really interested in blogging myself in the last year. I never took on creating a campaign website for Mike Boland because I didn’t feel I had the time or energy to maintain it in my spare time.

For sure I’m going to be writing about Mike Boland as a legislator, but I also am including information about the staff that serves the people of the 71st district, and where appropriate, about the people of the 71st district themselves. I’ve met a number of interesting and wonderful folks through the years I’ve been working with Mike Boland, and over time I hope to make my blog about them too!


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