America loves a good underdog story. Today, we’ll find out if E’villains do as well. Despite being out-resourced, out-endorsed and up against a “slate” political strategy, John Bauters is hanging tough and has a chance to upset an Emeryville political dynamic that has painted him as an outsider. His youth, energy and fresh perspective have captured the imagination of a broad range of Emeryville voters including seniors and our emerging working professional population. It remains to be seen if he can overcome the odds that have been stacked against him but it’s clear that he’s established himself as a viable prospect in Emeryville’s political landscape.
He’s done it all while maintaining a commitment to positive campaigning and the only candidate to hold down a full-time job while campaigning. “I pledged to run a completely positive campaign when I declared my candidacy for city council and have fulfilled that pledge with integrity” he mentioned through a recent email conversation.
Representing an underrepresented demographic of Emeryville
Bauters represents a segment of our population that is currently underrepresented on our council and his emergence looks to bring a younger demographic into the voting and engagement folds. “For the first time in 15 years, after speaking with John, I am actually motivated to vote for city candidates and measures!” commented Julie P. on his recent E’ville Eye candidate questionnaire. “If he’s elected, I’ll finally feel like I have a voice. John is part of a significant demographic of Emeryville; the young, educated, working professional, and would speak for many of us. His ambition is just what this city needs.”
But it’s not just the young that have gravitated toward Bauters. Emeryville’s Senior population has aligned with him as well. His Watergate events have been well attended and the groundswell of support has been evident. “I thought that John Bauters was surprisingly well-educated in the challenges facing Emeryville and was prepared with a number of ideas that he had clearly given a lot of thought to in solving some of the issues facing the City” noted 27-year Emeryville resident Betsy Cooley.
An openly gay man in a longterm relationship, he’s also a huge lover of our four-legged friends and has pledged advocacy for more dog-friendly spaces that encourage interaction amongst neighbors.
— John J. Bauters (@JohnBauters) August 27, 2014
Not just discussing the problem … but providing solutions!
Bauters has experience in some of Emeryville’s most applicable areas including Public Safety, Affordable Housing and Sustainable communities advocacy. A self-described Pragmatist, Bauters has distinguished himself from the other candidates by going beyond just supporting or identifying a problem … but by suggesting real, practical solutions. He’s a quick study and had been able to quickly grasp Emeryville’s most challenging problems like our Emery Go-Round Funding. “His strengths are real policy – not the fluff that people say that sounds good.” noted another commenter “His methodology seems to be first-hand encounter with problems and then tackling those problems with real solutions that are very possible from a logistics standpoint.” “He was the only candidate who consistently had SPECIFIC ideas on how to improve our city” noted another resident after a recent candidate forum. “He has clearly spent some time seriously thinking about the problems of the city and how to solve them.”
Real solutions like lobbying Sherwin Williams for more affordable units and pointing them toward available grants & resources that would help subsidize this (9:56):
[youtube id=”G2D1SV-Xl5c?t=9m56s” width=”620″ height=”360″]
A Track Record of Community Involvement
You’d never know John has only been a resident for two years if you chat with him (In a city where there is a 75% turnover in residents every 8 years, the term “new” is relative). His critics point to his relative lack of involvement in Emeryville politics thus far. This might be a concern for some, but he has a proven track record of involvement at all his stops along the way to E’ville. This has given him experience from a broader perspective than just our narrow 1.2 square miles and I personally think this is an advantage for him. With over ten years of combined work experience as a disaster relief coordinator, a public policy advocate, and a legal services attorney assisting low-income families, seniors, people living with disabilities and the homeless. John’s best asset is leading people to work together. His email sign-off is “The strength of a nation is measured by the least of its people” says it all. He’s an advocate for the underdog.
But Can John Bauters Win?
He’s came out of nowhere to thrust himself into the equation as a viable candidate. As I’ve stated in a previous post, Bauters is up against some heavy odds as R.U.L.E. affiliated Councilmembers have thrown their influence behind the Donahue/Martinez slate and his later entry cost him some key endorsements. Emeryville needs new, fresh ideas and I believe that John Bauters can provide these (my biggest concern with John is the fact that he’s overqualified for the job). I believe having a cross-section of Emeryville represented in Council and having John on would fortify this. Seniors, Parents, Professionals, Small Business Owners, Pet-owners … John brings a fresh perspective to Emeryville and one that I think can take us to the next level as a city. John’s qualifications speak for themselves and he’s personally earned my vote. Has he earned yours?
“In the end, I accomplished what I set out to do. I ran a completely positive campaign, I talked about issues and ideas, we made over 2,500 door knocks and held numerous events. I accepted the request to meet any person who asked for it and I am better for the whole experience. We live in a wonderful little community and whether I win or lose, I wanted to change the way people viewed politics. I want it to be a place where people put ideas before identities. True progressivism promotes change and real change takes time. Be the change you want to see and someday you will.”