Don't Get Mad; Get Organized!

Don’t Get Mad, Get Organized!

--by Lee Mercer. Chair, HCAO Mobilization Committee

After the disastrous results of last week’s elections, both nationally, in Colorado and with Measure 97 in Oregon, the tendency is to feel powerless, hurt and angry. But as generations of social change advocates can attest, when you are hurt and angry, it’s time to organize!

        HCAO members in the Rogue Valley Parade

        HCAO members in the Rogue Valley Parade

From the defeat of two important ballot measures there is one clear message for Health Care for All Oregon. Because, besides lots of opposition dollars, what defeated ColoradoCare and our own Measure 97 was a failure to educate and “inoculate” sufficient voters to win at the ballot box. And despite all the uncertainty on the horizon as Trump promises repeal of the ACA, our job remains to continue educating Oregon voters to understand and passionately support a universal publicly funded health care system.

So outlining some of our key Mobilization and Membership goals at the HCAO Statewide Membership Meeting last Saturday was timely.

And our key goal is to grow our database from its currently nearly 20,000 supporters, to 60,000 folks in 2020, representing roughly 3% of those who voted in the 2016 general election. To achieve this increase in supporters, our most important tool is the HCAO Support Sheet which chapters and organizations around the state use to collect names and contact information at events, tabling and meetings. And to reach this goal we need to get 10,000 new supporters signed on annually, or about 833 per month.

Wow! That sounds like a lot of people! How do we collect that many signatures?

In breaking down the Mobilization and Membership Objectives and Tasks we realized that, if chapters, organizations and individuals all pull together, we can reach this goal. For example, if we collect 50 signatures at each of 4 speaking events in 6 locations annually, we collect 1200 signatures. And if we collect 25 signatures at 24 house parties, there is another 600 signatures. And adding up the signatures collected at the many farmers markets, community fairs and parades we table at annually, there is another 2500 folks on the list. So, by making sure our chapters and advocates are doing as much tabling and as many events as possible, the goal can be reached. (See Mobilization and Membership Objectives Summary.)

But a few new twists will help assure we are educating enough Oregonians to inoculate the voters towards a victorious ballot measure. One is to begin using the experience gained by Corvallis and Ashland folks canvassing for the local universal health care ballot measures and pilot some “door knocking-canvassing” campaigns to sign up universal health care supporters. Many of us have done it for Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) or Measure 97. Now we need to start door knocking for our universal health care movement. Initially, just signing up folks as supporters to build the database, we will eventually need to knock on many more doors when we collect signatures to go to ballot measure in 2020.

Another new twist will be asking all of our Member Organizations to begin collecting signatures from among their members. If each organization collected just 20 contacts, that would be another 2400 folks in the database. We also want to experiment with Move On type online petitions to get folks involved.

But just as important as filling the database with supporters, will be to sign up folks as Individual Dues Paying Members (Click here and select Individual Membership) of HCAO. Our goal is to sign up 500 folks a year as dues paying members. And to recruit 12 more organizations a year to build the strength of our coalition of almost 120 organizations. And to present and/or table at 12 union conferences a year. And to present and/or table at 12 other member organizations’ events a year. And…. You get the picture!

So there is no time to stay sad and angry. There is much too much to do! Join us in continuing to build our movement till we get to Health Care for All in Oregon! Everybody in, nobody out!

For More Information on how you can get involved:

Contact Mobilization Committee Chair Lee Mercer, 831-818-5247,
Or Membership Committee Chair Lou Sinnniger, 541-954-2356