Tagged: Election 2012


For our sixth installment, we are thrilled to feature Edil De Los Reyes, a rising star in the progressive community.  Her talents go way beyond her dedication towards social justice.  Training for a marathon and as a member of a performing arts group, she is always creating opportunities for growth.  We’re excited to highlight a young woman on the rise!

What was your first job in politics?

Field Organizer for California Democratic Party

Everyday you must….

Remind myself to take a moment and enjoy the present. In an environment that requires you to constantly be ready for the next moment, it’s important to self-love and self-care. Always ‘refill your glass’.

I never waste my time on…

Uncompromising, selfish people. There are 7.03 billion individuals on this planet. Find the ones who are down for the cause, and skip the ones who aren’t. You’ll be a happier person.

Something that I do that is Risky:

Snowboarding. Absolutely love the feeling of carving through fresh powder. Risky, but soothing.

I’ve always wanted to:

Open a performing arts studio for youth or a restaurant. Growing up I was surrounded by music and great food. It would be nice to give back to the community through performing arts education or a hearty, comforting meal.


We first met Edil when we were on a panel for the Women’s Information Network (WIN) and she’s a fierce advocate for our progressive values.  I’ll always want her on my side!

How else does Edil Rock it Out?

Born and raised by first-generation Filipino immigrants, Edil De Los Reyes is the Political Director of PAC+ and the Deputy Political Director of PowerPAC, a national advocacy organization that ran the country’s largest independent expenditure for then-Senator Obama in 2008. Currently PowerPAC is powering PAC+, a new national PAC focused on many donors, not mega donors. PAC+ is investing in six strategic states for 2012, looking to endorse and help elect Progressive Champions in areas impacted by the demographic revolution. Its goal is to democratize money and politics to give voice to America’s New Majority. 

Before joining PowerPAC, Edil ran the California Democratic Party 2008 campaign operations in San Bernardino County. In one of the country’s fastest growing counties, Edil developed civic engagement training plans, implemented new media strategies, and attracted and deployed a volunteer team of youth. Her work helped turn the county “blue” for the first time in modern history. A self-described data-geek, Edil works with PowerPAC’s Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega analyzing numbers about electoral patterns and trends and their interrelationship with the country’s demographic changes. 

Edil is a proud alumna of American University, holding a BA from the School of Public Affairs. Follow her on Twitter @mari_delosreyes.


For our fifth installment, we are pleased to feature Shefali Razdan Duggal, a dynamic Democratic activist and fundraiser.  She is honestly one of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet.  We’re so fortunate to have her be a part of this series!

What was your first job in politics?

After I completed my Masters in Political Rhetoric from New York University, shortly thereafter I began my career in politics when I joined the Massachusetts Democratic Party during Vice President Gore’s 2000 Presidential campaign.  Although ultimately disappointed with the result of that Presidential campaign, I did find the entire moment to be an incredibly educational and exhilarating experience.  It was then when I established that I genuinely had a passion to work within, in some small way, our great political dynamic.

Everyday you must….

Do a prayer of gratitude for all the undeserved blessings placed within my life – –  from the past, the present and with God’s gracious hand…the future, as He sees fit.

I never waste my time on…

Disingenuous, shallow people or those project negative energy.  Life is such a blessing, and a gift which we are given is the free will to choose which energy we surround ourselves with, and this decision can and does diametrically change one’s life and perspective on all things.  I attempt, to the best of my ability, to emanate positive energy, and express myself in an authentic, productive way towards others.  And, I find that an important part of that process is both emanating affectionate light from within, and also keeping positive folks/energy within your external surrounding.

Something that I do that is Risky:

I very often (almost always!) speak/behave from my heart. My feeling is that what is important is the intent of one’s words/actions/emotions – – and, if the intent is positive and abundant with hopeful, empathetic energy, then one cannot control another’s response or reception to an individual’s words/actions.  Each person’s perception is somewhat coloured by their own experiences, and all I can control is my own good intent in my actions.  In my heart, I believe that my intentions are truly coming from a good place, and hopefully that is perceived in what I do and say, both in my life and within actions which concern others.

I’ve always wanted to:

Play the piano.  It has been a childhood dream of mine.  Due to various understandable reasons, we weren’t able to follow through on that hope when I was a child.  Although now, as so many parents do, I have presented that opportunity to my children, and thank goodness, they both enjoy piano!


Shefali is so committed to causes close to her heart and it’s reflected through her (constant!) positive energy.  She will always help a friend in need and is always doing what’s good for the community.

How else does Shefali Rock it Out?

She’s a member of President Barack Obama’s Presidential Partners, a member of the National Finance Committee (NFC) for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, a Co-Chair for Obama Victory Trustees (OVT) and a member of the Northern California Finance Committee for President Barack Obama. Shefali is a member of the Credentials Standing Committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and is an At-Large Delegate to the Convention from the State of California. She is also a member of the Democratic National Committee Asian American Leadership Council and the DNC National Steering Committee. Shefali is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman’s Council and a member of the Majority Council of Emily’s List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women to all levels of government. Shefali is a member of Human Rights Watch, California Committee North.

Previously, Shefali was active in Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign where she was a Trustee for the DNC South Asian American Leadership Council. There she focused on South Asian and Young Professional outreach, co-hosting a number of fundraising events for both the Senator and his surrogates. She previously worked with Senator Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign where she was a member of the campaign’s Northern California Steering Committee and the Women for Hillary Committee. Shefali was also on the Finance Committee for the Kamala Harris for California Attorney General Campaign and was a member of her Transition Team. In addition, she was Executive Director of Indus Women Leaders, a national South Asian women’s organization, and is a graduate of Emerge, a political leadership training program for Democratic women. Shefali was also a Board Member of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, an organization focused on promoting South Asian political participation.

Shefali was born in India and has lived in Cincinnati, Chicago, New York and Boston. She received an M.A. in Political Communication from New York University and a B.S. in Mass Communication from Miami University of Ohio.

In the News

Dems Need to Pump It UP:

How does this forecast for the upcoming election? Enthusiasm is down so what does the Democratic Party need to do to increase voter participation?   http://www.gallup.com/poll/156194/Democratic-Voting-Enthusiasm-Down-Sharply-2004-2008.aspx

Voter ID Laws Can Affect Your Vote:

These new laws can most impact college students, minorities and the elderly.  Disenfranchisement is not part of the democratic “small d” process. 


Latinos Can Make a Difference in 2012:

Getting people to the polls is a priority for the campaigns and the Latino constituency can make the difference.


In the News

AAPIs in Nevada Favor Obama:

If the Obama campaign wants to win this targeted state, they need to talk to this very important constituency.  http://www.examiner.com/article/nevada-asian-americans-favor-obama

via Bert Eljera http://facebook.com/bert.eljera1

Women in the War Room:

The office layout might include a day care center.  Our female colleagues are changing  the industry everyday. http://www.campaignsandelections.com/magazine/us-edition/324842/women-in-the-war-room.thtml

via Shira Toeplitz @shiratoeplitz

Call to ACTION:

If you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, consider joining the AAPIs for Obama to register voters this Saturday, 7/28. For more details, https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpds9y

via Naomi Tacuyan @aapidemocrats

Campaign 101 Tip #3 You mean….I really have to talk with people?

Did you know that a campaign is a communications model?  What does that really mean?  It means the campaign’s intent is to engage voters to have a conversation.  This ensuing conversation results in voters making the decision to vote for the campaign’s candidate.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  Guess what? If we didn’t live in a world where picking up the kids from day care and worrying about what to make for dinner weren’t part of the essentials for most people (because they’re normal & we’re weird), then the only thing that voters would be watching would be C-Span.  Breaking through the white noise or rather filters to get directly to voters is a matter of timing and issue relevancy.  If you’re talking about an issue that’s important to the voter, they’ll likely pay attention.

It’s important to realize that voters don’t think about politics in the same way that professional hacks do.   We (I’m including myself into the weird category) live/breathe/eat politics and consume headline news with a voracious appetite.  We know the poll numbers and have the debate schedule memorized.  Voters are certainly politically savvy but they need the candidate to frame the all important question, “Why you – why now” into a personal experience.  Knowing a voter’s motivation is about market research and directing a message that compels the voter to cast a ballot in favor of the candidate that best support that issue.

Technology has certainly made communicating with a mass audience that much easier, however it’s important to understand that personalized direct communication is still the best method to get a person’s attention.  Think about your own relationships.  Friends are developed over time.  A candidate is asking for your vote.  To reach that goal, they need to address issues that are important to an individual voter through direct voter contact with an established trusted source of information.  When you hear a testimonial from a friend about a product that they enjoy, you trust their opinion because you value it.  The same applies to the candidates voters choose.

Texting, tweets and email are extremely important components to any communications/outreach plan but it needs to be complement a robust voter-to-voter plan that allows for individuals to advocate for the candidate in a personal one to one fashion by talking about the issues in a deeper way.

It might seem ole’ fashioned but picking up the phone or seeing a person face to face really can make the difference.

So in the words of a revised version of Carly Rae Jepsen campaign styles, “here’s my number, call me, most definitely!”

– Madalene Mielke


Campaign 101 Tip Number Two But It’s Actually a Whole Lot More!

Our last tip was about #winning.  How about the Rules of Engagement?  The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC)’s 2012 Campaign Strategist of the Year and all around great guy,  Will Robinson (not to be confused w “Danger, danger Will Robinson!”) has a list of rules for any campaign staffer.  It not only applies to working on a campaign but also in so many parts of life.  Will is Yoda and I’m just a young grasshopper.  I know that I’m mixing characters from Star Wars and Kung Fu but that’s just a testament of Will’s ability to roll with those iconic figures.

Will Robinson’s List of Rules for Campaign Staffer

1. If it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist.

2. No such thing as “off the record.” (Reporters are not your friends!)

3. Do not hold a private conversation in a public place. (This includes cellular phones and planes!)

4. Don’t believe any number that ends in zero.

5. Never turn down an opportunity to eat or go to the bathroom. (Don’t eat anything that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.)

6. Don’t spend any of your own money. (Personal) Don’t even admit you own a credit card. Don’t spend money that is not yours. (Authorized)

7. Not always a “right” or “wrong” answer – “It depends”

8. In a campaign, someone has to be in charge – campaigns are a place to foster democracy, not practice it.

9. Assume nothing.

10. If you make a mistake, fix it before analyzing, etc. (Bad news doesn’t age well)

For more on Will Robinson and his firm, The New Media Firm check them out:

http://thenewmediafirm.com/ or @thenewmediafirm

You can also follow Will on twitter at @wrobin5626

— Madalene Mielke


Campaign 101 Tip Number One

Some people have become accustomed to campaigns looking like an episode of the “West Wing” but I worked in campaigns when I still had to use thermal paper for my fax machine and I didn’t have a cell phone but a pager.  People might have confused me for a dealer but at least, my parents might have mistaken me for a doctor.

With the onslaught of technology (i.e facebook, twitter, texting), people sometimes forget that campaigns are really about one on one contact.  Getting your network to discuss the topics of the day and having them compare candidates who can best form public policy.  Voting is a powerful instrument.  It takes “powerful” messengers and a well-organized campaign to convey why a candidate is best suited to represent a community’s needs.

Campaigns can be exciting and filled with drama but more often than not, it’s an organization trying to manage chaos around them.  All. The. Time.  Whether it’s internal or external forces that pull on the resources, campaigns are always about raising and spending those resources towards a common goal: Winning.  That magical number is 50% +1.

50% + 1 = #winning

Whatever goes down only equates to the phrase that Charlie Sheen made popular, #winning.  Campaigns are organizations that move people to vote for their candidates.  They only have 3 resources to do it all.  Can you name the resources?

Tell us about your 1st volunteer/paid campaign experience.  We want to know!