Wellstone Action is a Saint Paul, Minnesota-based non-profit organization founded by Jeff Blodgett. It operates programs to train progressive citizens - and potential candidates for public office - in how to succeed in winning elections, enacting legislation, and passing ballot initiatives. The organization is named after the late Paul Wellstone, a U.S. Senator who represented Minnesota, who died in a plane crash along with his wife Sheila and several members of his campaign staff on October 25, 2002. Its mission is to honor the legacies of both Paul and Sheila by continuing their work.
The group claims a membership of 100,000 members and has trained over 11,000 people in 32 states in political advocacy, grassroots organizing, get out the vote (GOTV), youth activism, voter education and mobilization. Specific training programs include the Advanced Campaign Management School, Camp Wellstone, Campus Camp Wellstone, voter engagement schools, Camp Sheila Wellstone, a labor training program, a Native American leadership program and Wellstone Organizing Fellows. As of now, U.S. Representative Tim Walz, from Minnesota's 1st congressional district, is the program's highest-ranking graduate.
Advanced Campaign Management School : This intensive three-day training is designed for individuals with past electoral experience who want to take their political organizing skills to the next level and candidates who are currently running for office. The trainers teach the fundamentals of winning campaigns, building the skills of a new generation of campaign managers and developing leaders and professionals for long-term involvement in the progressive movement.
Camp Wellstone : Wellstone Action's signature weekend training program provides hands-on, practical training in grassroots politics for citizen activists, campaign workers, and people interested in running for office.
Campus Camp Wellstone : Campus Camp Wellstone trains students nationwide on how to run energized, community building, winning campaigns. It focuses on campus and community organizing and young voter engagement.
Voter Engagement Schools : Voter Engagement Schools help non-profit community-based organizations educate, engage, and mobilize voters across the country. These national trainings are held in partnership with organizations who want to connect long-term voter engagement work with the issues their constituents care about.
Camp Sheila Wellstone : Camp Sheila Wellstone provides domestic and sexual violence movement leaders with skills in strategic planning, organizing, communications, and political advocacy.
Labor Training Program : Customized to meet the needs of individual unions, this program partners with progressive labor organizations around the country to help build capacity, leadership, and infrastructure in the labor community.
Native American Leadership Program : In partnership with tribes in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and throughout the country, this new program will provide leadership and civic engagement skills training, culturally specific training curricula, highly skilled Native American trainers, and technical support for the creation of community action plans, to create a pipeline of Native leaders who are ready to step into key leadership positions in their communities.
Wellstone Organizing Fellows : This program provides leadership training and support for a select group of young leaders of color in Minnesota. Fellows participate in an intensive one-month training and then put their new skills to work in local community-based organizations. Wellstone Action also provides ongoing mentoring and peer support throughout the program.
Building a Volunteer Program :
Meaningful Constituent Contact :
Voter Registration :
Voter Education :
Get Out The Vote :
Being a Successful Citizen Lobbyist :
Values-based Messaging :
Action Planning to Win on Issues :
Leadership Development :
Neighborhood Voter Contact Program :
Holding Elected Officials Accountable to Our Issues :
Of all the participants in the Candidate track in Camp Wellstone, over 24% have won their elections, and 44 percent are currently running for office this election cycle. They are seeking seats in State House/ Assemblies, City or Town Councils, and School Boards. 73.5% of them are challenging incumbents, while 26.5% of them are running for an open seat - not a single candidate is an incumbent.
Everyday citizen activists are also changing the fabric of this country by organizing and winning on issues that matter. Camp Wellstone alumni from the Citizen Activism track have had many successes: 37% have successfully lobbied an elected official to change public policy, 54% got coverage of progressive issues in the news media, and 43% built winning coalitions with other progressive organizations.
In general, Wellstone Action's thousands of alumni are organizing and winning - electing progressive candidates and mobilizing on issues that matter to communities.
- "Wellstone Action Network". Wellstone Action. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
- "Politics the Wellstone Way". University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
- "Training Programs". Wellstone Action. Archived from the original on 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
- Horrigan, Marie (2006-10-17). "Minn. Roundup: Walz a Legit Barrier to Gutknecht in 1st District". CQPolitics.com. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-15.