NC CSE Wins the Public Affairs Council Innovation Award

NC CSE Wins the Public Affairs/Showalter Group’s 2000 Grassroots Innovation Award

The winners of the first annual Grassroots Innovation Awards were announced at the Public Affairs Council’s (PAC’s) 2000 National Grassroots Conference in Key West, Florida on February 14. “As grassroots matures, organizations must constantly strive to be innovative in their grassroots tactics and strategies. In an effort to recognize the innovative use of grassroots techniques, the Council is proud to partner with The Showalter Group in creating the Grassroots Innovation Awards,” said Tony Kramer, Manager of Grassroots Programs at the PAC.

For Outstanding Achievement: North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy (NC CSE).

“NC CSE revived a good old-fashioned approach to soundly defeat a large tax increase accompanying the June 8, 1999 Wake County school bond referendum. They were outspent 5 to 1, had all the area business and political leaders against them, and were down 45 percent to 55 percent in the polls prior to the campaign. They defeated the tax increase 65 to 35 percent.”

NC CSE thanks the PAC and Showalter Group for recognizing our achievement. Our campaign was an effort to “fast forward to the past” and combined old-fashioned grassroots politics with a cutting edge. NC CSE was heavily outspent, had little support from the mass media, and had very few resources of our own.

“We were forced to think outside the box – and get our volunteers involved. In a matter of weeks, we had sent out 25,000 postcards, and generated more than 2,500 phone calls to local residents from CSE phone trees. CSE staff and volunteer activists put up over 5,000 yard signs with our message to stop the unnecessary hike in property taxes. Our victory is further evidence that the efficacy of real grassroots campaigning will not diminish in the foreseeable future, if it is properly employed.”

· NC CSE Grassroots Manager Brandon Arnold

From The News & Observer (Raleigh), July 11, 1999:

“NC CSE had helped defeat Wake County’s school bond issue last month. Its director, Chuck Fuller, then launched a grass-roots lobbying campaign against a university-bond referendum, encouraging like-minded people to call their legislators. House members took note. ‘It’s almost like having the threat of the NRA being against you,’ Rep. Miner (R-Cary) said.”

NC CSE’s efforts also have been reported in The Wall Street Journal, The Charlotte Observer, the News & Record (Greensboro), and several other North Carolina local papers.