Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Montana Standard

We came. We Talked. We educated the heck out of the editorial staff at the Montana Standard in Butte. Check out their Web site in the coming days for an editorial supporting DC voting rights!

Butte - the Chamber of Commerce

We barely had time to drop our bags off at Grandma Stella's before we had a meeting that grandma helped set up with the Butte Chamber of Commerce. We had a stellar meeting with members who all signed DC Vote's petition.

The road to Butte...

Getting on the road to Butte

Missoula has been amazing! We aren't at all surprised that the people in Montana have been supportive of democracy for District residents. If you want to meet some friendly, energetic people who are loyal and in love with the place they live, come to Montana.

Jaline and Kevin are off to Butte this morning to pick up grandma Stella (Jaline's grandmother-in-law and Butte resident) on their way to a meeting with the Butte Chamber of Commerce. We're not sure when we will have easy access to the Internet again (we think that Aunt Dorothy has good wireless...), so we wanted to post a few of the fun photos we've taken but haven't blogged about yet. The beauty of this place is outstanding!!

Enjoy these pics and make some comments on the numerous posts we've put up - give us some energy and support by letting us know what you think of our trip!

Onward and upward! (Butte is at a much higher elevation than Missoula - and supposedly much colder...)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Montana is so fierce...

That we're getting fiercer by the day! Kevin wrestled a moose to the ground. It took a lot of hard work but that moose sure as heck signed our petition. Jaline even convinced this grizzly bear to join DC Vote's coaltion. So, so fierce.

Fueled by much coffee...the outreach continues

We started the day with a jolt of caffeine to fuel us through another long (but productive!) day in Missoula. We met with Julie McFarland from the ACLU, U of M Law School chapter. She signed our petition and will share the information with her colleagues at the ACLU.

We also had a lively discussion at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Boy, did they have a lot of questions. And, man, does DC Vote rock when it comes to answering them! Questions about constitutionality? About retrocession? About Congress' authority over the District. Bring. It. On.

We followed up with a quick meeting with the Missoula Independent. Sadly, as an alternative weekly, they lack an editorial page. On the plus side, they were into our issue and want us to keep them posted for future coverage in their paper.

AND...Jaline was also TOTALLY able to convince yet another Montana constituent to sign our petition. Mr. Musk Ox didn't let a little thing like a lack of opposable thumbs stop him from supporting DC Voting Rights.

Day Two in Missoula and back with the Grizzlies

We're getting ready to hit the road again and have a bunch of meetings at the University of Montana (Go Grizzlies!) and then with community groups tonight we'll be posting as we can and keeping you all up-to-date on the next best thing that happens for DC voting rights in Big Sky Country!

Here's a blog entry from Matt Singer, Missoulian Hits Nail on Head With DC Voting Rights (we met with him on Monday and he's the CEO of Forward Montana and blogger of Left In The West -

PS Here's another fun photo from yesterday's trip to the Flathead Reservation. Kevin really got into the Elk antlers!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Continental Divide

Heading back toward Missoula after a long day of meetings and media on the Reservation, the lighting on the mountains where the Continental Divide lies was breath taking. The people we've met with in Montana may be on the other side of that divide from the people in DC, but they're showing us that we're united not divided when it comes to bringing democracy to DC.

We took tribal media by storm!

We had successful meetings during our trip to the Flathead reservation. We met with Maggie Plummer, a reporter at Char Koosta Newspaper, and a brief meeting with Kim Swaney, editor-publisher. We spent a great hour with her, chatting about voting rights and life on the reservation versus DC life. She even sang us a little song about filibusters which she titled "Stuck in the Senate with You."

Frank Tyro at KSKC-TV, a public television station owned and operated by Salish Kootenai College, greeted us with a nice surprise. We came for a quick meeting and ended up taping a half hour segment on DC Vote for his weekly public affairs show. Sadly, we won't be in range to view it live but he promised a DVD. Look for it on our Web site in the coming weeks!

Spreading the message at Flathead Lake

We beat the massive crowds to Flathead Lake where we tried tabling with information on DC voting rights. Kevin totally convinced Jaline to sign a petition and join DC Vote. LOL!

OMG - It was Buffalo Love at first sight!

Okay, so little did we know that the National Bison Reserve was on the Flathead Reservation. Here's a gem of a photo! (and for those of you asking yourselves, "Is that real?" Yes!). He's in his buffalo stance...

[By the way, since there hadn't been any comments on this totally amazing photo when we had it small, we've upgraded it to large. This is one of the most amazing beasts in the land!]

Captain Quinto takes us to the Reservation

Sorry we've been off line most of the day, but we left Missoula early in the morning to drive up North to the Flathead Reservation of the Salish & Kootenai Indian Tribes. The weather was cold, but we were running on high energy after learning about our success from our Monday meeting with the editorial board of the Missoulian (see previous post - All Citizens Deserve Representation)! Captain Quinto helmed the Galactica II (That's the name we've given our Silver Pontiac 4-door. It's truly 'driving excitement!')

The Missoulian: Part Deux

This morning, the Missoulian ran an editorial in favor of the DC Voting Rights Act!

Thanks again to all the wonderful people we met at the Missoulian yesterday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Progressive Happy Hour in Montana

For our last visit of the day, DC Vote had the opportunity to speak at Forward Montana's first Progressive Happy Hour of 2008. Matt Singer and the whole Forward Montana team - Jamee Greer, Jason Brinistool and Joni Waldrop - brought out an energetic group of activists to learn more about DC voting rights.

Here's a photo of Kevin with some of those activists having a great time!

Sunny skies over Missoula

As we prepared to go on over to the Progressive Happy Hour with Matt Singer, the sun was shining on DC Vote's Montana delegation!

League of Women Voters - Montana and Missoula

We just finished a meeting with Gladys Hardin, president of the Montana League of Women Voters and active in the Missoula League, and Sara Busey, an amazing LWV advocate here in Missoula. The LWV has always been one of the strongest advocates in the struggle to educate Americans about DC's denial of democracy, and the energy and ideas generated by these two women stands out! We look forward to working with the League in Montana and Missoula.

Greeting the Grizzlies

We had a blast during our brief stopover at the University of Montana. We met with Dustin Leftridge, U of M's student body president, who surprisingly knew all about DC voting rights. He promised to bring up the issue at Wednesday night's Student Senate meeting. We told him that we would love to find a way for Students for DC Vote and ASUM to work together. Let's go team DC Voting Rights!

We also handed out many tea packet fliers. Jaline invited students to enjoy a free cup of "taxation without representation" tea and visit our Web site. Thanks to our student outreach efforts, U of M students will keep warm while they read about DC's disnenfranchisement over a steaming cup of Orange Pekoe...

Forward Montana and Bernice’s Bakery

As we continue our on-the-road blogging experiment, you can imagine that we might be a little nervous to meet with Matt Singer of Forward Montana. He’s also got his own blog – Our meeting place was Bernice’s Bakery – a place that had also been recommended to us by a few Montanans back in DC (Jaline thinks they have the best chai - and according to Matt, it's made right down the street!)

Matt is a powerful resource and full of ideas. In addition to this meeting he's helping us reach out at the Progressive Happy Hour this evening.

The Missoulian

Our first meeting in Montana was with the editorial board of the Missoulian. At 9:15 AM, we met with opinion editor Tyler Christensen. We were joined shortly thereafter by Sherry Devlin, editor, and Stacey Meuller, publisher. We spent a great 45 minutes sharing information about the District of Columbia, DC Vote and DC voting rights. Following the meeting, we were able to get a photo of the three with Jaline showing off their newly remodeled (and very cool) office space. Thanks Missoulian!

On the road – day 1 – morning

We awoke to a snow covered ground, but there wasn’t as much snow as had been expected (it was, however, enough snow to completely shut down DC for days… LOL). The roads were fairly empty, and we made good time on the short drive into downtown Missoula.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We made it to Montana safe and sound

We made it here safely (after a VERY bumpy plane ride from Salt Lake...) Montana is fierce (just like the grizzlies in the airport!)

PS We've been here less than 20 minutes, and we've already educated at least one Montana constituent about DC voting rights - Scot our helpful hotel staffer!

The Beehive State

With a short layover in Salt Lake City, UT, we thought we’d take a moment to give some props to our supporters in Utah – Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett; Reps. Chris Cannon and Rob Bishop; the Utah State Legislature and of course Governor Jon Huntsman. Sure it, looks like Utah stands to gain an additional House seat until the next Census reapportions congressional districts, but they’ve shown that we can build bipartisan support to end taxation without representation for District residents. Many thanks to the beehive state!

PS We're not sure what was going on at the SLC airport, but we got excited by all the activity and decided there must be some celebrities around somewhere. So we used a good portion of our layover looking for stars (maybe we read a few too many Us Weeklies... LOL!)

We’re leaving on a jet plane…

Okay, so here’s the start of our attempt at an on-the-road blog. We, Jaline and Kevin, met at the Delta terminal on Sunday at National Airport at the designated time, 3:30 PM, for our trip to Missoula, Montana.

To be honest, we got our boarding passes, had our bags checked, made it through security and were sitting at a table in front of the gate before we really knew what was going on. (And just because it was fast doesn’t mean that we liked the “take off your shoes, most of your cloths and throw away any liquids you have” part of the security check any better…)

So just as we were boarding, we had enough time to ask a stranger to snap a photo commemorating the start of our historic journey.

Fortunately the plane was only half full, so we were able to spread out a little. Our Us Weekly, In Touch, In Style, People, Wired and other must-have-to-read-on-airplane magazines had their own seat! FYI: the first leg of the flight, taking us to Salt Lake City, was five and a half hours long, so there was plenty of time for doing our homework for the trip as well as indulging in reading some gossip. As communications professionals, we need to keep up with current events… (By the way it looks like J. Lo and Marc Anthony are having twins.)

Before it got totally dark, we snapped a cool pic of the sunset and the Ohio River from the window of aisle 43 (okay, we love taking pics with our new camera so just be ready to see a bunch…)

(Here’s another nugget from People magazine: the buzz word is ‘Shoulder Surfing’ – Speaking with one person while looking for someone better to talk to. There’s a lot of that going on at DC functions…)

Some cool dude on the plane saw the DC Vote logo on one of the pages we were looking at in our binders, and said, “God bless you for that.” He said it was really frustrating trying to get people to understand that DC residents don’t have voting representation in Congress. (Don’t we know it!) We told him about our trip and he thanked us and wished us luck. We’ll take all the luck we can get! LOL.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Getting excited! (and preparing for the cold...)

We've packed up our offices - DC Vote just happens to be moving to a bigger office space over this coming weekend - and are ready to hit the road. (Jaline and Kevin will both be posting to this blog over the next week as we tour Big Sky Country, so bear with us as we switch back and forth from I to we to me...) We have our camera, video camera (we're hoping to share lots of our trip with you) and lots of wool and down filled clothing in hand. We're set to meet with some of Missoula, Pablo and Butte's finest and can't wait to take DC Vote's message on the road!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Countdown to Big Sky Country

DC Vote is hitting the streets of Missoula Monday, January 27 - just five short days from now...