What Narrative Will Emerge from the National Conventions?

Tenoch Flores

Tenoch Flores
Adjunct Professor, Political Communications
Master of Public Affairs and Practical Politics

During my time as Communications Director for the California Democratic Party, I was responsible for developing and implementing the message and narrative for a total of five annual state party conventions, as well as for the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in 2012. This month, both of the nation’s main political parties are preparing to hold their quadrennial national conventions in Cleveland (RNC) and Philadelphia (DNC). Here’s what I can tell you about working to set and advance a narrative during the largest political event of the season: it’s not easy.

Even in the age of social media, custom news feeds and unprecedented personal access, the national party conventions represent the single greatest opportunity both political parties have to project a narrative about their party and their candidates to the electorate. Almost every political observer will be watching and a sizable portion of voters will take in at least the headlines and the main themes that emerge. Continue reading

Advertisements

2016 McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento

The McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento participants are immersing themselves in their internships and helping to make a difference from California’s Capitol!

McCarthy_Fellows_2016

Isabella Gonzalez Potter: Assembly Member Thurmond’s office.

McCarthy Fellows 2016

Ivette Chow: CalHFA Single Family Lending within the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Continue reading

Why Tuesday’s Election is Important

Corey Cook, PhD

Corey Cook
Corey Cook, Professor of Politics is currently on leave but is still a critical observer of local, state and national politics. Professor Cook regularly contributes to the Leo T. McCarthy Center blog while he establishes the School of Public Service at Boise State University.

By the time polls close in California this coming Tuesday, the two major party nominees for president will likely be known. And while the results in California’s Democratic primary will garner substantial media attention, the country’s most populous state, and the one awarding the highest number of delegates to the Democratic Convention in July, will not have mattered in choosing the party’s nominee. Again.

But while the presidential election will dominate election night coverage, as is increasingly the case around the country, voters will effectively be choosing the vast majority of their elected officials during the primary election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states now have governors and a majority of state legislators of the same party. In about half of the states, the majority party has 2/3 control of the state legislature. Continue reading

USF in DC: The Possibilities Continue

Emily Adsit

Emily Adsit
USF in DC

Writing a big picture, lofty post about my time in the USF in DC program is a tall order — mostly because I want to write about the specifics. I want to write that I got to tour The White House, that I met House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and that I attended briefings around the District and hearings on Capitol Hill. I want to write about how I received amazing support and advice from my internship supervisors and professors, and that the Leo T. McCarthy Center is unparalleled in their dedication to encouraging and mentoring students. However, that is not this post. This post is, instead, an overview of the things I took away from this program, which is knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Continue reading

Our Best Summer is Yet to Be: Working for a More Equitable California

Wright speaking

Peter Wright
McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento Professor

For several years now, I have taught at the University of San Francisco. Like everyone else, when summer approaches, I reflect back on earlier special times at the beach or touring National Parks. This year, looking ahead, I’m thrilled to be working with the Leo T. McCarthy Center‘s McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento program, and expect it to be the best one yet.

The Fellows have chosen to spend their summer around the halls of power, learning how to shape the structures and systems that frame our state’s policy making processes, honing their abilities for critical analysis, and immersing themselves in the unique political culture of our state Capitol. Who needs the beach when we can work for a more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant California? Continue reading

An Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) Graduates

Moore_graduation

Dylan Moore ’16
Advocate for Community Engagement

Over the past year, as an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) I’ve worked closely with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in the Tenderloin neighborhood. As a part of this experience, I worked with a wonderful team of people to plan and implement the Fools annual community celebration, known as Oscard’s Feast. Though it operates as a fundraiser, the primary goal of the event is to come together as Fools and celebrate the community found in the Tenderloin (TL). About a week after the event, I was facilitating a reflection with service-learners from a Communication Studies course as well as with Carmen Barsody, one of the founders of the organization. As we reminisced on the success of the event, Abram Castaneda, one of the service-learners said something that made us all pause, smile and make the classic “mmm” sound that happens when someone in a reflection says something particularly profound. He spoke about the beauty of an event that invites people to “come in your complete imperfections”. If there was ever a summative moment of my experiences as an ACE, that was it. In just one short sentence this service-learner had captured what it means to work as an ACE, with the Leo T. McCarthy Center (LTMC), and with the Faithful Fools.

I began my undergraduate life in service as a Martín-Baró Scholar, working with the Raphael House in the Tenderloin. Through this partnership I served as a homework tutor for young students who were currently or had previously experienced homelessness. I was also fortunate enough to spend a year at the YMCA in Bayview Hunters Point. As a part of my work there I was a classroom assistant, helping students with their algebra homework (although frankly, more often than not, they were the ones teaching me about algebra).

Finally, here I am at the Faithful Fools. voter registrationMy service with the Fools has had me wearing multiple hats. There are times when I’ve helped register voters in the TL and times when my service involves simply being in community. Though my time as an ACE is ending, my journey with the McCarthy Center isn’t over yet. In just one short week I’ll be heading off to Sacramento as a McCarthy Fellow and continuing my journey of exploration.

As graduation grows closer, I’m left thinking about all of the things I have learned as an ACE. While I’m better at writing professional emails and planning reflections, any job of value will help me develop those skills. What makes being an ACE an exceptional and transformative job, is how it has shaped me as an agent of change. Over the past two years I have built incredible relationships, made amazing memories, and learned more about myself and the world than I ever thought I would. As a part of this learning process, I have unpacked and analyzed the structural and systemic issues that affect our community. I have explored my privilege and my marginalization. I have seen the ways nonprofits can fight against marginalization. More than anything though, I’ve learned how to celebrate communities in all of their vulnerabilities and strengths. Being an ACE has taught me that I don’t need to build up walls against my vulnerabilities, I need to bask in them. To share our flaws and imperfections and find common ground within them. Being an ACE has taught me how to grow, celebrate, and heal through vulnerability.

So here I am, in all of my imperfections, ready to take on the world as a McCarthy Fellow in Sacramento and continue celebrating the community that is the McCarthy Center.

(Dylan Moore is the 2016 valedictorian for the School of Arts and Sciences and award winner of the Priscilla A. Scotlan Award and the Leo T. McCarthy Public Service Award)