Seeing opportunities for serendipitous success
in people who are different from you because you understand
that your success is connected to their success
For years, Democratic and Republican politicians foolishly ignored Phoenix area Latino voters, believing they were unlikely to vote.
Daniel Valenzuela was a Phoenix firefighter who decided to run for the city council in the spring of 2011, an off-year election. Valenzuela asked five Latino students at a local college to help him win the council seat by getting residents of the mostly Latino west side registered to vote. Those five students recruited almost another hundred people under the age of 30. Identifying themselves as Team Awesome, this group made 72,000 door to door visits to the Latinos that Democratic and Republican politicians foolishly ignored. They returned to some homes four or five times. Turnout for the election was up 480% from the previous off-year election. The vote count was almost 14,000. Valenzuela beat his Republican opponent by an almost 3 to 2 ratio.
Political rookie Daniel Valenzuela was smart in three ways.
He was smart to focus on registering ignored Latinos to vote.
He was smart to ask Latino college students to help him register other Latinos to vote.
He was smart to pass the power of recruiting for Team Awesome to the Latino college students.
Valenzuela’s smart approach to politics brought success on election day in Phoenix.
Daniel Valenzuela saw an opportunity for serendipitous success
in unregistered Latinos because he understood
that his success as a candidate was connected to their success as voters.
“Why Latino Voters Will Swing The 2012 Election”
March 5, 2012, 22-29
Paula M. Kramer
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