Last Week, More than 100 Gun Safety Advocates and Gun Violence Survivors Graduated as Part of the First Cohort
The National Program is Investing $3 Million in Recruiting and Training Hundreds of Grassroots Volunteers and Survivors of Gun Violence to Run Campaigns on Gun Safety at the Federal, State, and Local Level
The Initiative Provides Educational Training with Campaign Experts and Mentorship Opportunities to Volunteers Interested in Running for Office or Working on Campaigns
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action kicked off the second cohort of “Demand a Seat” participants, with more than 100 Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors joining the program. Demand a Seat is a bipartisan national program to recruit and train grassroots volunteers and gun violence survivors to run for elected office and work on campaigns. The kick-off event today included remarks from former Moms Demand Action volunteer-turned lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and Kansas State Representative Jo Ella Hoye. Participants also heard from elected officials, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Former Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Stephen Benjamin about their path to running for elected office,
Last week, more than 100 participants graduated as part of the first cohort, more than half of whom are gun violence survivors, participating in educational trainings and workshops, and networking events to prepare them for running for office or working on a campaign. Among the graduates who have declared their run for office are Mia Livas Porter, a gun violence survivor and former volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action in California who is running for California State Assembly, Jess Piper, a teacher and farmer running for a seat in the Missouri State House of Representatives, and Mark Gooch, a librarian running for a seat in the Ohio State House of Representatives.
“For years, grassroots volunteers and survivors of gun violence have been demanding action from lawmakers, now they’ll be demanding their seats,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Hundreds of proven gun sense champions are now gaining the skills needed to run winning campaigns, providing a much needed pipeline of strong candidates for elected office up and down the ballot. Demand a Seat gives me hope for the gun violence prevention movement for years to come.”
“Rather than wait on Washington to act on gun safety, more and more volunteers and gun violence survivors are rolling up their sleeves and running for office themselves,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “As Demand a Seat grows, so does our bench of battle-tested future candidates who have made gun safety the fight of their life.”
More on the Demand a Seat program:
Since the launch of Demand a Seat, hundreds of people have expressed interest and more than 250 people have participated in the program from 41 states, including 120 gun violence survivors. Participants are interested in running for office or running campaigns on every level ranging from school board and city council to state legislature and federal office.
Demand a Seat provides educational training, with the help of 50+1 Strategies, on how to build and run winning campaigns as a gun safety candidate. By connecting with officials Everytown and Moms Demand Action volunteers have helped elect across the country, the program also creates networking and mentoring opportunities, including with elected officials and seasoned campaign veterans, that will serve as a resource to program participants as they navigate the electoral process. Learn more about this program at DemandaSeat.org.
Moms Demand Action volunteers have been running on gun safety and winning for years. In 2020, 43 Moms Demand Action volunteers turned candidates won their races. To date, two former volunteers with Moms Demand Action have been elected to Congress, 15 have been elected to state legislatures, 18 have been elected to city or county councils, and eight have been elected to school boards, among other offices.