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A Little Help From My Friends

In order to successfully build our Democratic Community, we need to know what we're working with.

This post is a chance for us to learn everything we can from one another -- how each of us can make a contribution to building the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Use the comments area below to join the conversation.

We need to learn from each other the best ways that you folks are doing what you're doing.

How are you able to recruit volunteers?

What has gotten the most attention at your county fair booth?

What are some creative and effective methods you've seen in the past?

How do you encourage college students in your area to become active?

Do you know any good projects for seniors?

How did you always get a good turnout for your events and meetings?

Please take a few minutes and jot down some successful ideas that you have. We'd love to hear from all corners of the state--and beyond.

Keep checking in as we gather more ideas--and make sure to follow up on anything you see that's interesting below:

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From the Road: Dakota County

I met with Dakota County Democrats last night, and had a productive discussion with them about how we can rebuild the Democratic Party in their area.

Dakota County activists strategize how to build the Democratic Party in their area with Ian Russell from the NDP.

Dakota County is one of the few counties in Nebraska that actually has more Democratic than Republican voters -- so it makes it an important area for local and statewide candidates. There are quite a few local Democratic elected officials in the county, and in 2006 there will be elections for South Sioux City Mayor and City Council, and Dakota County offices. As the county party continues to grow, they'll be working on recruiting candidates (or protecting Democratic incumbents) for these offices. Click here to see more information about this county.

As part of our 93 County Strategy, the NDP will be working with the Dakota County Democrats to grow the Democratic community in the South Sioux City and Dakota City areas. Under the leadership of Tim Bahr, the county chairman, the activists in Dakota County seemed ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work: starting next month, they'll have monthly meetings at a coffee shop in town, they'll be calling other Democrats to invite them to the meetings, and they'll be finding candidates to run for office.

Thanks to their hard work, look for new Democratic elected officials and an energized party in Dakota County in 2006.

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From the Road: Douglas County

People representing varying age groups, professions, and backgrounds attended last night's Meetup in Omaha. For Graham C., it was his first political meeting -- a chance to connect with other Democrats in his community. Martha W., a teacher, came because she's frustrated about what the Republican leadership is doing to our country. Kelli O., who's been active in the party before, came to meet some new faces in a casual setting. At any rate, we sure had a lot to talk about.

We shared ideas about how to reach out to other members of the community--through emails, postcards, phone calls and door knocking.

One thing was clear--we need to speak up and let the rest of Nebraska know that the Democratic Party is alive and well.

Last night's Meetup was a great way to meet new faces and to discuss ideas to move the party forward. This will be a regular meeting group on the second Thursday of every month at 7pm at Caffiene Dreams. If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to drop by. You can sign up for the event here.

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NDP Front Page Story

Check out the great story on the front page of the Lincoln Journal Star. It is all about the new 93 County Strategy and reaching out to Nebraskans everywhere. It is great, positive news in a very visible place.

Democrats' goal: Compete across state

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From the Road: Lancaster County

In case you weren't able to attend last night's Lincoln Democratic Party Meetup at MoJava Coffee House, I thought I'd transcribe just a few of the notes I took about what the grassroots were saying about the Democratic Party, the "93 County Strategy," and the 2006 elections.

With the conversation ranging from the 2004 election cycle to running more statewide Democrats in the primary elections to generate more earned media exposure. By the end of the night, the consensus was that the Party has to got to compete for every office in every county possible.

This is no easy task, but as we continued to talk about how to build a broader Democratic community in Lancaster County, one of the participants, Pat N., said something that really hit hard:

"Don't be Hostile…Stay Positive…Be Honest."

Prophetic? Maybe. A good organizing strategy? You bet.

The more everyone talked about what Pat said, showed me that some of the grassroots really wants to be ‘happy warriors' in the effort to persuade voters to support our Party and our candidates. More than anything, we discussed how to turn our budding Democratic community into something more visible and proactive.

"So what do we do next?," asked Jessica M.

Well, beyond hashing out more concrete plans to recruit candidates for local office, the idea was pitched of sending out postcards to friends and family members telling them about next future meetups and local Democratic events.

So check your mailboxes for a postcard from another proud Nebraska Democrat who wants you to visit with us at next month's Lincoln Democratic Party Meetup.

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From the Road: Platte County

Yesterday, Ian and I drove out to Columbus for the Columbus Area Meetup. There, we met with some local activists and talked about how the 93 County Strategy can be applied to their community. Platte County has some interesting races this cycle including the State Senate seat in LD 22, four Board of Supervisors seats, and four Columbus City Council Seats.

It was great to see the energy last night from the folks at the meeting and to hear everyone's ideas: fair booths, back-to-school welcome events, picnics, and a training session in October. This could be the cycle to really put Platte County on the map.

Also on we brainstormed many ways to build up the democratic community in Platte County and to get more people involved. Tom, the Meetup host, mentioned how we can get more Democrats to vote by voting by mail.

It will certainly be exciting to see the progress that Platte County -- as well as each of the other 92 counties -- makes during the next 15 months. Keep checking back for more updates!

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The Message Thing...

Click on this for a great oped by Jim Wallis…

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Bush Should Meet With Soldier's Mom

It is not easy meeting with the families of the men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq. As a reporter, I talked to wives, brothers, mothers, and friends of young men and women who died in the Middle East over the last two and a half years. I still have the funeral program for a fallen Marine from Grand Island hanging in my apartment to remind myself that those dying are real people.

In some cases, family and friends believe in the cause their loved ones died for, and that's fine. They have that right.

But there are a growing number of families who think their children are dying for no reason. Cindy Sheehan is the one currently making headlines. She met with President Bush shortly after her son Casey was killed. She was in shock, and the president would change the subject when she talked about Casey. Since learning about government reports disputing the Bush administration's claims about biological weapons, she has become increasingly upset.

"All of those reports prove my son died needlessly. This proved that every reason George Bush gave us for going to war was wrong," Sheehan says.

Now Cindy is camped outside of Bush's Crawford ranch, insisting to meet with him about her son's death. A few top officials have met with her, but Bush is refusing to do so himself.

Bush's decision to go to war resulted in the death of her son. If troops weren't dying, Bush would be the first to take credit for low casualties. But they are dying. 1,829 lives so far. It is his responsibility to be faced with that reality. And more importantly, he owes it to these families. If this determined mother wants five minutes of his time, she should get it.

I am sure that being faced with the death of troops is not easy for any president. He would have to believe fully and completely in the mission at hand to deal with the death that accompanies it. Bush's unwillingness to meet with Cindy makes me wonder how much he believes in his own war.

Ignoring basic requests like those of Cindy Sheehan will only increase the dissatisfaction brewing in American hearts and minds.

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New State, New Start

Hello Nebraska Democrats! This is my first blog post since coming to Nebraska, and I'd like to fill you in on a little about myself and what the field department is working on at the NDP Headquarters.

A little about myself-- I'm South Dakota raised, Augustana educated, and speak fluent Spanish. I've been fortunate enough to spend my college years in Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize. I'm from Watertown, South Dakota and spent the last two years working for Tom Daschle's re-election campaign. But, enough about me -- I want to learn more about you, your counties, your communities, and your ideas on how we can effectively coordinate the "93 County Strategy" in your area.

In order for the Democratic Party to be effective in achieving our goal of electing Democrats, we need to have an open and positive communication line between what we're doing in the Headquarters and what you're doing in your communities.

Without it, our roots won't grow.

As you plan local fair booths, community parades, Meetups, or candidate events, give me a call or send me an email. The one thing we want to accomplish during the next 15 months is to provide resources to local Democrats so we can rebuild a statewide Democratic community. But, the only way we can build this community is by reaching beyond the traditional "precinct" boundaries.

Your "virtual" or "social" precinct will become as important during the next 15 months as your physical precinct has been in the past. Your family, friends, and co-workers will soon become the new precinct we try to organize.

Keep checking our website for new additions to the Blog for Nebraska, our event center, and the research that my friend, and your new Communications Director Amanda McGill, will be producing, and let us know how we can best tailor our efforts to reach out to your social, virtual, and physical precincts.

Feel free to email me with any ideas.

Thanks for all you're doing to help us rebuild the Democratic Party and win back our state.

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Another Great Democrat Getting It Done

Check out this great article in today's Omaha World Herald about newly elected Douglas County Register of Deeds Diane Battiato.

We have Ben Nelson, Mike Fahey, Coleen Seng, et. al. They have Loralee Byrd, Ray Mossey and Rock Mueller, et. al. I'll take those odds.

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