Meet a FLIPster – Katy McDougall-Collins

Katy discovered FLIP NC through “Pod Save America” (thanks, Lovett!). She learned about Indivisible during an episode of the podcast, went to Indivisible’s website, and that led her to our chapter. She has canvassed with FLIP NC about a dozen times. Her top canvassing tip? “Relax, be yourself, and have fun.” (Check out this video – Katy and her fellow FLIPsters demonstrate how easy canvassing is!)

Katy is a member of the new four-person FLIP NC Wake Leadership Team, which already has three successful canvasses and a happy hour social under their belt (and more events are scheduled – join us!). A Raleigh resident, Katy works in the digital world, “wearing a few different hats working on websites.”

Here, a Q&A with Katy.

Meet a FLIPster – Helen Poston

Helen came to her first FLIP NC event last July – our 99 Days to FLIP NC! event at Motorco – after seeing information pop up on her Facebook feed. Since then, she has canvassed with us about 10 times and recently joined our newly formed four-person Wake Leadership Team. They already have two canvasses under their belt (and more are scheduled – sign up!).

A Durham resident, Helen grew up in southern Wake County and works at Biogen as a manager in the patient services department. She and her husband Glenn are parents to an adorable 5-year-old, Nate. Helen has been politically engaged since the 2008 election but only volunteered a few times per election cycle back then. After the 2016 election, like many others, she realized that she had to get more involved. In addition to her work with FLIP NC, she is the team lead for Headcount in the Raleigh/Durham area.  

Here, a Q&A with Helen.

Why are we working to FLIP NC?

We envision a progressive NC that works for all North Carolinians and protects the most vulnerable among us.

We believe the best way to achieve this vision is by building civic engagement through year-round, direct voter outreach within communities.

What do we mean by “a progressive North Carolina”? We mean one that:

  1. Protects our democracy. We believe North Carolinians deserve a government that truly represents the people. This begins with restoring the basic democratic institutions of our state: securing our sacred right to vote by making it easier, not harder; drawing fair maps so that voters choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing their voters; safeguarding our judicial system against partisan tampering; and restoring transparency, thoughtful debate, and deliberation to our institutions of government.

  2. Ends economic oppression. North Carolinians deserve to live with dignity – poverty and extreme inequality have no place in a nation as wealthy as ours. It’s past time to end the exploitation of the most vulnerable for the benefit of the few, the rich and the powerful. A fair and just society demands that we end the war on the poor and restore the social safety net, progressive taxation, and economic opportunity for all.

  3. Ensures equal rights and protections. We believe in equal rights and protections for all North Carolinians. That means racial equity and justice; bodily autonomy for women; protections against discrimination for LGBTQ North Carolinians; and fair and humane immigration policies free from racist, xenophobic motivations.

  4. Supports a strong public education system. The future success of our state depends on the investment we make in public schools today. A good education should not be reserved for the most privileged, and educators should be valued and rewarded for their important work. We must restore North Carolina’s public school system, once the crown jewel of our state, by fighting for the funding it needs to thrive.

  5. Guarantees affordable health care. Access to affordable health care is a right, not a privilege. We must create a system in which all North Carolinians can see a qualified medical provider, regardless of their income. No one should die because they can’t afford basic medical care, and we shouldn’t allow companies to value profits more than human lives.

  6. Protects the environment. Climate change is real, the stakes are higher than ever, and we must act immediately. North Carolina must prioritize clean air and water for all citizens over corporate profits. By investing in renewable energy, we can create good jobs and improve our economy while protecting our natural resources.

  7. Enacts broad criminal justice reforms. Our criminal justice system must respect the dignity and humanity of all individuals and treat all people equally under the law. North Carolina could dramatically reduce its incarceration rate and bring true justice to its criminal justice system by decriminalizing marijuana; rejecting for-profit prisons and a cash bail system that keeps poor people locked up while those wealthier go free; preventing racial profiling by law enforcement; offering incarceration alternatives for non-violent offenses; and restoring the Racial Justice Act.

Want to Flip a District? Run a Woman.

Want to Flip a District? Run a Woman.

Ask an old-guard Democrat what kind of candidate is the safest bet to flip a competitive seat in the North Carolina General Assembly, and you’ll get a pretty predictable answer: A white man. But the 2018 numbers tell a very different story.

Of the 35 Democratic candidates who ran in NC’s most competitive GOP-held legislative districts, 13 are women and 22 are men (across 23 NC House and 12 NC Senate races). Compared with 2016 results, the women outperformed Hillary Clinton by an incredible 10.8 points! In contrast, the men districts beat Hillary Clinton’s margin by an average of only 4.8 points. That’s a pretty stark contrast: Women overperformed Clinton by 6 points more than men! All 13 female candidates beat Clinton’s margin in their districts, while only 17 of the 22 male candidates did. The results are not quite as striking compared with Governor Cooper, yet the trend holds: women surpassed Governor Cooper’s margins in their districts by about 3 points more than men.

25 Reasons to FLIP NC

25 Reasons to FLIP NC

The NC GOP has passed so much extreme legislation since taking control of the NCGA in 2010 that it can be hard to keep track of all of the damage they’ve done to our state. But hope is on the horizon. If Democrats can break the Republican majority in at least one chamber of the NCGA, a new progressive era can begin in North Carolina.

Here are 25 reasons we’re fighting for democracy and a progressive future for North Carolina. Read our full list of 99 Reasons to FLIP NC, and then share yours – there are far more than 99 Reasons to FLIP NC!

Meet a FLIPster: Dana Carvalho

Dana, a Chatham County resident who has her own line of jewelry, has canvassed with us five times in Wake County. She especially loves it when she has conversations with people who are surprised and thrilled to learn that their district is flippable. Her history of political action goes back to her Vietnam protesting days. Today, she volunteers with a pro-choice advocacy group in addition to FLIP NC.

Here, a Q&A with Dana. And be sure to join her at one of our remaining canvasses in flippable Wake County! Last call for voter outreach!

Meet a FLIPster: Heidi Colton

Originally from Philadelphia, Heidi lives in NC-H36, one of the flippable Wake County districts where FLIP NC canvasses. She has knocked doors with us at least eight times! Her husband, Josh, sometimes canvasses, too. The couple has three daughters and loves to see live music when they aren’t acting as “human Ubers” for their girls.

The 2016 election marked the first time Heidi got involved with voter outreach. By day, she works in biotech research and development.

Here, a Q&A with Heidi. And be sure to join her at one of our remaining canvasses in flippable Wake County! With less than two weeks until the polls close, it’s GOTV go time!

Meet a FLIPster: Matt & Jake Schwartz

Today, we’re featuring two of our youngest canvassers! Matt and Jake are twin brothers from Chapel Hill who are sophomores at Durham Academy. Theirs is a family that has always talked openly about current events – Jake says he has been incredibly interested in politics since age 11.

In their free time, Matt is a saxophonist for the jazz band at DA. Jake plays Ultimate Frisbee for the school and enjoys club Frisbee in the summer.

Because they can’t drive yet, the brothers usually get a ride from their father to our canvasses. Then, they split up and knock doors with a new canvassing partner each time.

Read this fascinating Q&A with the Schwartz brothers – sure to inspire you to get involved with FLIP NC in these final days before the election!

Meet a FLIPster: Lisa Reiter

She hasn’t always been politically active – after living in the D.C. area for four years, she grew tired of all of the political conversations. But Lisa finds that when the conversations are about true activation – and action – instead of gossip and frustration around our state of affairs, she’s all in.

Read this Q&A with Lisa, and make plans to join her at an upcoming canvass. We’re knocking doors every Saturday and Sunday until the election!

Meet a FLIPster: Francis Ferrell

Francis, a resident (and native) of Durham, is married to our co-founder, Briana Brough. They have two young sons. By day, Francis works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a park ranger at Falls Lake.

“My parents were the prototypical 1970s hippies who would bring my siblings and me to peace marches,” he says, “but I would not consider myself to have been ‘politically activated’ until I got involved with FLIP NC.” Now, he’s taking Teddy Roosevelt’s advice, as you’ll read below, to not “fritter away” his time.

Here, a Q&A with Francis. And be sure to join him at one of our upcoming canvasses!

Meet a FLIPster: Laura Ballance

You’ve heard us say that FLIPsters are rock stars – our all-volunteer organization depends on lots of good people lending a hand, making a financial contribution, and participating in our democracy. Today’s featured FLIPster is a literal rock star, though!

Laura is the bassist for indie rock band Superchunk. (If you haven’t already, listen to “What a Time to Be Alive,” Superchunk’s musical response to the 2016 election and all that has happened since.) She also runs Durham’s Merge Records, home to artists like Arcade Fire and She & Him.

Laura still finds time for activism, volunteering with multiple organizations. She had never canvassed before discovering FLIP NC. She’s knocked doors with us in Wake County on three occasions. 

Here, a Q&A with Laura.

Meet a FLIPster: Andrea Cash

Andrea, a Durham resident, is the FLIP NC communications director behind content such as this Meet a FLIPster blog series, our newsletter, and our social media. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, she now owns and operates Andrea Cash Creative, helping her small-business and nonprofit clients with content strategy and creation, branding, PR, social media, and video and event production.

Here, a Q&A with Andrea. And be sure to join her in our voter outreach efforts!

Meet a FLIPster: Bryan Luukinen

It's another Meet a FLIPster – video edition! 

Right after our big August canvass in flippable Wake County (80 canvassers! 1,200 doors knocked! 400 conversations!), we chatted with Durhamite Bryan Luukinen, a first-time canvasser. We asked Bryan what's motivating him to volunteer this election season, what's troubling him about the current NC General Assembly, and how his first canvassing experience compared to his expectations. 

We're so glad Bryan is returning for more FLIP NC canvasses this fall! Watch this Q&A, and then sign up to join him! We have plenty of voter outreach opportunities!

Why isn't FLIP NC registering voters?

Some folks have asked why we're not doing voter registration. Here's why:

As a volunteer-run organization led by a small group of folks with full-time day jobs, we started FLIP NC knowing that we have limited time, and we wanted to focus on doing one thing well. That one thing? Getting out the vote among left-leaning, registered voters in flippable legislative districts.

We chose to focus on GOTV because this is a blue moon election year; there are no statewide federal races at the top of the ticket to bring voters to the polls. Turnout for the last blue moon election (in 2006) was just 37% - about half of 2016 turnout. That means we have a huge opportunity to win big just by getting left-leaning voters to the polls this November.

Wondering why we don't just carry voter registration forms while we canvass? Well, first, registering voters has legal implications and should not be done without proper training. Preparing canvassers to register voters would require a significantly longer training process, using valuable time that our volunteers could be spending knocking on doors and talking with voters.

Second, we rarely run into folks who aren't registered, because our walk lists use targeted voter data. Some canvassers who have previously been through voter registration training do bring registration forms along when they canvass; yet they hardly ever have the opportunity to use them. In fact, although our 8-member coordinating committee took voter registration training early on so we would be prepared, only one of us has ever encountered an unregistered person across 14 canvasses.

So while voter registration is certainly a critical and worthy cause, it's not FLIP NC's focus for this election. If it's yours, please consider volunteering with You Can Vote, an outstanding organization that provides voter registration training and registers voters across the state.

Meet a FLIPster: Ben Dawson

Neighbors on Call has done a great job of spreading the word about our canvasses, resulting in fantastic FLIPsters like Ben, who works in manufacturing and lives in Chapel Hill.  

“I attended a magnet boarding high school with a pretty oppressive administration,” Ben says. “That’s where I learned to question authority and fight for what’s right.”

Once he went to college and throughout his 20s, he didn’t pay much attention to politics, but the age of social media put it all right in the spotlight and made the process and results of the process so much more tangible.

And, “Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson really lit the fire for me,” Ben says.  

Here, a Q&A with Ben. And be sure to join him at one of our upcoming canvasses!

Meet a FLIPster: Susan Blount

Susan moved to Chapel Hill in the spring of 2016 after retiring from a 40-year career in the tech industry, working for companies like Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts and Dell and Compaq in Texas. 

“I spent so many years in a solid blue state and then a solid red state, where the need or potential for change was limited, that I was never particularly active,” Susan says. “I admired the Civil Rights workers of the ’50s and ’60s and regretted I didn’t have the opportunity to contribute to such important movement, to make a difference like that.”

Upon moving to North Carolina, Susan volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign as a way of meeting like-minded people. “And boy, did I! After the election, our campaign team decided to band together, and Neighbors on Call was founded,” says Susan. “So, finally, an opportunity to make a big difference.”

Here, a Q&A with Susan. And be sure to sign up to join her at an upcoming canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Brian & Jenni Murphy

It's another Meet a FLIPster – video edition!

Right after our record-breaking July Wake County canvass (80 canvassers! 1,200 doors knocked!), we chatted with Durhamites Brian and Jenni Murphy, who were first-time FLIP NC volunteers.

"I was really scared going into it, and it was so totally not something to be scared of," Jenni said. "People were really excited and really grateful to talk to us."

We're grateful that they've already made plans to come back and talk to more voters! 

Watch our video Q&A with the Murphys, and join them in our voter outreach efforts this fall!

Meet a FLIPster: Anjali Patel

Anjali had never canvassed before her FLIP NC days. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life. An NC State graduate with a CPA license, she has not always been politically activated. 

“It is so much more than just politics these days,” she says. “What's happened since Trump became our leader has made me more aware of things going on in our country and around the world. There are so many ways to get involved and feel like you're making a difference, that it's hard not to contribute in some way. I just want to show my daughter that it's OK (and actually, great!) to care and do something about it.”

Here, a Q&A with Anjali. And be sure to join her at an upcoming canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Claudia Koonz

An Orange County resident, Claudia is an author and retired professor of history at Duke. Back in her grad school days, she did some telephone sales and door-to-door opinion surveys. She hated being intrusive and swore she’d never solicit again. “Over the last four decades, nothing made me reconsider until the 2016 election,” she says. “Knocking on doors is still challenging, but the community spirit in FLIP NC inspired me to venture out of my comfort zone.” To date, she’s canvassed with us about six times.

Here, a Q&A with Claudia. And be sure to sign up to join her at an upcoming canvass!