Over the course of the past several weeks, I have been an intern at For Our Future Action Fund’s Ohio headquarters. Established prior to the 2016 electoral cycle, For Our Future is a labor-affiliated progressive political action committee whose parent organizations include the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and NextGen Climate. Our purpose is the furtherance of progressive policies in the realms of education and healthcare, but our strategy for realizing this purpose is what’s truly unique. While other independent expenditure groups tend to prioritize traditional media advertising and adopt transient, transactional approaches to allies and partners, For Our Future intends to upend these prevailing practices through facilitating grassroots organizing and establishing permanent progressive infrastructure in key battleground states. This intuitive yet groundbreaking approach to political engagement has rendered this internship particularly interesting and valuable.
My tasks as an intern have proven unique and varied. As an intern for the field department, I am charged with assisting the field director and deputy field directors in devising and implementing the state’s field strategy. For obvious reasons, I cannot divulge specific elements of our strategy, but the process of its conception and implementation has proven incredibly informative. Balancing the interests and intentions of our organization’s various partners and stakeholders, while analyzing and integrating available data and qualitative wisdom has presented a challenge that I relish in undertaking. I’ve also learned a great deal about the internal structure and operations of our organization, laws concerning campaigning and campaign finance, campaign strategy and theory, and data analytics. I have worked extensively with the Voter Action Network (VAN), acquiring expertise in implementing a canvassing operation and understanding voter data. I’ve also been given more rudimentary tasks: for example, our canvassers routinely experience harassment from police, in spite of laws and court rulings sanctioning the right to canvass as political speech protected by the First Amendment. So, I’ve had to draft letters communicating this to police departments across Ohio.
Overall, my first month has been hurried but infinitely enriching. I look forward to continuing to detail my experiences as the internship moves forward.