A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My Q&A With Kristian Forland

You can view all Q&A by clicking on the links on the top of the sidebar. Kristian Forland on his run for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party:

You are running for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. What makes you want to serve in the State Party leadership?

In the past, and with no fault of the former 2nd Vice Chairpersons, this position has been very much under used. The 2nd Vice Chair is a rather unique position, and one could really make whatever they wanted of it. I strongly wish to serve in the State Party leadership, specifically in the capacity of 2nd Vice Chairman, because I would have the ability to create something of benefit within this position. Our State Party has for various reasons left many individuals feeling disenfranchised. Many in the rural areas of Nevada feel particularly passionate about their discontent. I believe that it is imperative for all of Nevada, North and South, rural and urban, to work together as one cohesive party in order to turn Nevada Blue and take back the White House in 2008. As 2nd Vice Chair I would personally take on the task of including and reunifying all Democrats throughout Nevada. Jill Derby and I are very much in agreement on this issue. Further, I believe my current standing within the rural community, including my specific understanding of their issues, coupled with my media and marketing background, will allow me to accomplishing these goals. I feel it is time for fresh faces, new ideas, new passion, and clear agendas.

You’ve lived in London, New York and Los Angeles and have now made your home with your family in Elko. What has been your experience in Nevada’s heartland?

My time in London, working with the BBC, afforded me a wonderful opportunity to see most of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. I was able to learn and experience first hand how many different political agencies function around the World and, as such, I learned how to think very much outside of the traditional American political box. Of course living in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas made me very comfortable with big city politics and the media; as well as making me comfortable with communicating with complete strangers on a daily basis. Big city politics is a world all its own, and learning to navigating such waters has awarded me with incredible knowledge. However, small town and rural politics are entirely different animals. Living in Elko County has been such a beneficial experience, on both a personal and professional level. Rural politics really forces you to hone your messages. Moreover, owning and operating several businesses in a rural area adds a sort of delicacy to this exercise. Nevada’s heartland has educated me on mining, ranching, water and grazing rights, and an entire host of other issues that I never considered while living in a major metropolitan area. I come now to the State Party ready to utilize all of the skills and know-how that I acquired from abroad, throughout the large metropolitan areas of America, and the rurals of Nevada. On a personal note: with regard to rural Nevada, the land is pristine, the mountains cool and inviting, and the outdoor recreational possibilities overwhelming… my family and I love it.

As a former TV producer what experience can you bring to the State Party leadership in terms of working with the media?

Obviously my media experience will benefit the Executive Board greatly, and coming to the table with actual producing experience should be a great asset to the State Party. I see most things from a producer’s point of view, which often entails being able to step back and grasp the largest picture, and know how it will relate to several different threads of a story or events. Next, the producer implements through delegation the different angles of attack in order to accomplish the task at hand. The same theory works well in political campaigns. It’s a unique way of thought and visualisation that isn’t really common. In addition to bringing media savvy and know how to the table, I bring a working knowledge of media disciplines, attitudes and mentalities. Such knowledge would only benefit the State Party leadership.

Recently more emphasis has been put by Democrats on the rurals of Nevada. Jill Derby and Jack Carter had “rural strategies” and the DNC under Howard Dean’s leadership has started the 50-State Strategy. What impact did this have and what more needs to be done in the future for Democrats to win more votes in places like Elko County?

The ever enlightened Erin Neff of the Las Vegas Review Journal recently wrote an article regarding this very topic. The fact is that in order to turn Nevada blue, we must overcome the obstacles in the rural areas of the State. I am certain a Democrat will win Clark and Washoe Counties, but it is also imperative to win a certain percentage of the rurals in order to win Nevada. It is, therefore, essential that the Nevada State Party, in an unprecedented way, build up the rurals like never before. We must assist in rising funds, organizing, reaching across all political aisles, and begin massive voter registration efforts for the rural areas of Nevada. Disenfranchised republicans can be found throughout rural Nevada, however to win their vote is no small effort, and to assume that Nevada can turn blue without such efforts is naive. Jill Derby almost won because of her huge efforts within the rural areas of Nevada, including Elko County. I have spoken to many of the Chairs of rural Nevada and I have heard the same issues from all of them. They need help. They are located in very red rural areas and unless they can have the tools and finances they need and also learn how to work outside of the box, the local perception pigeon holds most of their efforts. A rural campaign, orchestrated by the State Party, needs to begin immediately. As one that has great passion for this subject, and has begun our own such efforts within Elko County, I would champion such a cause as 2nd Vice Chairman.

The Elko County Democratic Party on its website is very insistent that Democratic presidential candidates visit the rural counties. Do you plan to support a candidate for the Nevada Caucus, will your support depend on the candidates coming to Elko or will you remain neutral if elected 2nd Vice Chair?

As a member of the Executive Board the 2nd Vice Chairman must assist all candidates equally, and must remain neutral. However, all of our candidates must also be equally educated on the importance of winning rural Nevada. They will visit Las Vegas and Reno; however, their campaign must include extensive work within the rural areas. Obviously this would include visiting the rurals, but also developing grass roots organizations that are proactive throughout the rural areas. This is the only true recipe for success in Nevada. It will be our responsibility, as Caucus voters, to watch our candidates and their campaigns. One must remember that in the same manner as they each campaign for the Caucus they will also campaign for the General Election. A candidate that shows their willingness to campaign throughout all of Nevada now would seem to be a stronger candidate for the General Election, and thus also for the Caucus. However, and once again, as a member of the Executive Board, I would have to remain neutral with regard to support and rather utilize my position as a way to educate our candidates and their staff as to the serious importance of winning all of Nevada.

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