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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcast that aims to spark civic engagement through in-depth conversations with citizen changemakers. American democracy is a living, breathing mechanism whose well-being deserves to be cultivated and protected, and now more than ever, the need to be an engaged citizen is critical. We explore how each of us has the power to shape our society and fulfill our shared civic responsibility.

Feb 16, 2019

Ross Morales Rocketto is co-founder of Run For Something, an organization that supports diverse, young progressives running for state and local office. We discuss which candidates win, why building a bench of local and state politicians is important, and how an increase of candidates leads to better voter turnout.

The Importance of State and Local Office

Eighty percent of the laws that are passed in this country are passed at the state and local level, which include the big issues of the day, such as health care, education, or criminal justice reform. Victories in these races have real impact. For example, as a result of elections in 2017, Medicaid was expanded for tens of thousands of families in Virginia.

Successful Candidates

What the winners have in common are that they are truly representative of their communities, both in their racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as in their lived and shared experiences. They all work really hard to get elected. And finally, these candidates are not running to be something, but to do something. They are running to solve an issue that they’re passionate about in their community.

The Big Picture

Lowering the barriers to voting makes it possible to build a bench of Democrats who are actually representative of the communities and experiences of America. Moreover, we know that a one-on-one conversation with a voter is the most effective way to get someone to turn out to vote. The more candidates run, the more one-on-one conversations are happening every single day, and the more people are going to turn out to vote.

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Ross Morales Rocketto is co-founder and chief program officer of Run For Something, an organization that recruits and supports diverse, progressive, young folks who are running for state and local office.