Friends have asked about our 2019 City Council endorsement process, and we’re happy to share.
Who We Are
Boulder Progressives evolved from online conversations after the 2017 Boulder City Council elections. In the fall of 2018, Masyn Moyer and Jasen Thorpe decided to launch a grassroots effort to support progressive candidates and issues in Boulder County. Their vision took on more urgency when councilmember Jill Adler Grano resigned her seat in January 2019. Working with other core members, Masyn and Jasen began organizing happy hour socials and informational coffee hours, and invited all attendees to share their perspectives and take a role. Boulder Progressives organized organically as a ‘Do-ocracy’, with a Steering Team drawn from the most active participants. Our group is open to any person supporting progressive issues and candidates.
Our Endorsement Criteria
At our public events, attendees identified housing and transportation – especially as they intersect with climate policy – as key issues facing Boulder. We also heard a strong call for racial and social justice and equity to inform all city policies. With these priorities at the forefront, we evaluated candidates holistically (there were no litmus tests). We also looked for evidence of leadership or leadership potential, and the ability to engage underrepresented constituencies in Boulder (e.g. renters, people of color, and young adults).
Our Endorsement Process
Boulder Progressives asked potential candidates to participate in a three-stage vetting process: a public event (the Raucous Caucus), a written questionnaire, and one-on-one interviews. Our Steering Committee reviewed data from the 2015 and 2017 city council elections to identify trends and opportunities in voter turnout. We also evaluated candidates’ strengths and weaknesses as potential councilmembers, particularly given Boulder’s need for excellence in governance, proven leadership, and visionary planning. Finally, we tried to identify candidates who could support and amplify each other’s messages as part of a diverse-yet-united team.
We had a strong pool of potential candidates, but it’s important to note that we didn’t review everyone who ended up on the ballot. Andy Celani, Brian Dolan, Corina Julca, and Susan Peterson were unknown to us until they filed petitions of candidacy in mid-August. Nikki McCord was invited, but chose not to participate in our endorsement process.
Joining ‘The Coalition’
We joined an umbrella group known as The Coalition to prevent vote-splitting amongst progressive candidates, which was a significant factor in electing a PLAN-Boulder majority in 2017. We also felt that by working with other groups, we could elevate candidates (such as Junie Joseph) and issues (such as police oversight and homelessness) that might not otherwise receive support from established interest groups. Our partnership with Coalition members Better Boulder, Open Boulder, and South Boulder Creek Action Group has involved compromise by all parties, but we are fully committed to the group of candidates we support in common. We have chosen to work within an imperfect electoral system which favors slates (as PLAN-Boulder’s record of success so clearly shows). In the future, we hope to explore reforms to make our local elections more open and equitable.