Well, we didn’t win.
Lamar Smith won re-election. I’m not happy about it and I’m not going to rehash the results – they are publicly available on the web and this is about moving forward, not staying stuck on one election.
Some of you have suggested that we keep working on unseating Lamar in the general election this fall. TestPAC is unlikely to do so. Why is that, might you ask? First off, the district is hugely conservative. The likelihood of a Democrat winning, especially against a very entrenched incumbent such as Mr. Smith, is highly unlikely. We had our best shot in the primary, but Mr. Smith won.
Secondly, Candace Duval isn’t a candidate we would care to endorse. More information is available on this thread. I’d also like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that Andy Posterick is our Treasurer and named on our documentation. We need to operate within the law or Andy and others will be liable. Further, this means that we need to be careful of who to associate with. I and many others of the membership do not believe that associating with a candidate who has alienated her family and regularly uses a psychic healer is the direction we want to go in at this point in time.
With that out of the way, what did we learn from facing off against Lamar Smith and what have we accomplished? To both questions I would say – a lot.
As detailed in this blog post, TestPAC has successfully put out a TV ad, a billboard, raised thousands of dollars and more. We’ve continued to garner media attention and now we need to figure out the best way to move forward and ascertain our future goals.
One thing that is necessary for us to move forward is to learn from the campaign we just took part in. There are several issues we had with the campaign which I believe are key and need to be addressed; they include our organization, the lack of speed in decision makings, communication between membership, officers and volunteers, understanding of on the ground circumstances and feasibility issues. On the bright side, we have raised awareness of internet issues, showed the possibilities of a new model of fundraising and began to successfully put together an organization. TestPAC sprang virtually out of nowhere and
In that light, here are several things for us to work on in order to improve going forward and to push our capacity for influence and action:
First off, before we move forward on another campaign we need to stop and think about what our mission is going to be. Our core is this- we are a PAC which is ran by our members. Members decide where we focus our energies. However, not only is membership not very strictly defined, we don’t have a core goal in mind. Personally, and let me stress that this is my opinion and mine alone, I think we should focus on internet defense and internet issues.
Sure, if something absolutely crazy happens elsewhere we can switch gears however our focus should be technology and internet issues/net freedom. We have branding there already, it is the core issue that brought the PAC together and it is something that we all care about. Agree or disagree? Great, please give us your thoughts on the subreddit.
Next, we need to better define our structure to allow for greater flexibility and faster decision makings. We need a way of getting membership feedback faster- a great way to do that is to enhance our committees. We put out a call for volunteers and got some responses, however during the midst of the campaign this project fell by the wayside to some extent.
Not so now, we need to reorganize. We are working on an organizational structure to propose to the members for alterations, comments and critiques. However it isn’t quite ready – we’ll try to have it out to the membership as soon as possible, stay tuned. In the meantime – throw out your own ideas and help move the process along or put your name down now to volunteer for a committee. We want to ensure each committee has creative idea oriented thinkers and also people with expertise in the necessary topics. We’ve been blessed with some great production people and minds so far and we don’t want to dilute that.
Additionally, there also needs to be a better way to define membership. Is it everyone who donates? Signing up for the website? What is membership and how do we retain committed people – we’re working on that and are looking for fun and interesting ways to keep people involved. Please don’t hesitate to add your own input!
In summary, the biggest things we are focusing on are:
– well defined mission
– organizational structure
– addressing membership
In order to do this we’ve got some ancillary tasks that need to get done. We also addressed a couple of ideas. Some people have mentioned a name change – not happening right now, the IRS paperwork required to make the change from TestPAC Please Ignore to just TestPAC has taken enough time and energy. Plus, re-branding everything would be detrimental. However on that note – the website will be moved over to the testpac.org domain name soon. Jeromie is working on that, please stay patient as he is swamped with work.
In addition to this we are looking to do an overhaul on some of the site and keep the standards and quality up. Message an officer or post in the subreddit to get involved with this effort. Further, we’re looking to better define our goals and put together a growth plan to ensure we stay on track.
If there was anything you learned from the campaign, if you have ideas of what to do next or you want to get more involved please post to the subreddit and keep discussion going.
The officers will continue to move forward with our current ideas and try to get drafts of them out to the members for perusal soon, however at its heart, TestPAC is about crowd sourcing. We welcome new ideas – many of them may be better than the ones we brainstormed. Lets continue to work together in order to create a better future.
Tl;dr- Organizing and focusing in – learning from the campaign and from what we accomplished