Midterm Elections 101: A Q&A with SCAN’s Mobilization Director

Editor’s Note: Ahead of the midterm elections in November, we spoke with Save the Children Action Network’s Mobilization Director, Diana Onken, to learn more about the issues at risk for children and get her take on why voting makes a difference. Check out our conversation below, and learn how you can get involved this election season by visiting this page.

 Question #1: What’s at stake for kids in the midterm elections?

Answer: There is a lot at stake this November, as all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate are on the ballot. The next Congress will help shape the future of the nation’s kids—especially children living in poverty by determining investments in child care, preschool and critical early learning programs. In many states, there are also gubernatorial, state and local elections where early learning has been a critical issue that could result in new funding for early care and education at the state and local level.

Q #2: How has SCAN mobilized this election season?

A: Through our High 5 for Kids campaign, volunteers are asking candidates face-to-face how they will invest in early childhood education if they are elected. So far, in 10 states, volunteers have interacted with candidates nearly 135 times – and the number keeps growing! In addition to this candidate engagement, we have also endorsed gubernatorial candidates Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island and Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico. We are campaigning hard for these early education champions, launching TV and digital ads in addition to sending mailers to voters in these two states with the goal of educating them about who will help expand early learning in their state.

We’re also working with our partners in Seattle to encourage voters to support Proposition 1, which would increase funding for preschool and other educational programs in the city. And finally, we are supporting a coalition of community and education partners in Colorado to advance Amendment 73, a statewide ballot measure that would provide more equitable funding of public schools, including preschool and full-day kindergarten.

Q #3: How can people get involved and take action?

A: The best thing you can do is to vote and to make sure your friends do, too. Use our handy voting planner to make your plan to vote and then share it with your friends.

Q #4: Fill in the blank: Voting is important because __________.

A: Kids are counting on us!

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Diana Onken is the Mobilization Director for Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), where she runs the organization’s national mobilization campaigns and leads online advocacy efforts. With more than two decades of experience, she blends advocacy, digital strategy, strategic planning and grassroots organizing to win for kids.