The New National Program Will Invest $3 Million in Recruiting and Training Hundreds of Grassroots Volunteers to Run Campaigns on Gun Safety at the Federal, State, and Local Level
New Initiative Will Provide Educational Training with Campaign Experts and Mentorship Opportunities to Volunteers Interested in Running for Office or Working on Campaigns
There Are Currently More Than 140 Accepted Applicants From 37 States, Including 63 Gun Violence Survivors
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund and Moms Demand Action held its first event to kick off Demand a Seat — a bipartisan national program to recruit and train grassroots volunteers and gun violence survivors to run for elected office and work on campaigns. Since announced in August, Demand a Seat has accepted more than 140 applicants from 37 states, including 63 gun violence survivors.
Nearly 100 participants joined the kick off event to hear from three elected officials who started their political careers as Moms Demand Action volunteers: U.S. Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA), Kansas State Representative Jo Ella Hoye, and Mayor of Mt. Vernon, NY Shawyn Patterson-Howard.
“The response to Demand a Seat in just the first two months since launching the program is beyond all expectations,” said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action. “Participants are moms, dads, students, teachers, gun owners, and nearly half of the participants are gun violence survivors. This program is intended for everyone who has been doing the painstaking work of advocating for meaningful change on gun violence. They’ve been demanding action from lawmakers, and now they’ll be taking the seats of those who wouldn’t listen.”
“I decided to run for office, in large part due to what I learned in all my experience and all of my advocacy and training as a Moms Demand Action volunteer. Everything that I had been building with Moms Demand Action and the Everytown Survivor Network prepared me to really make a difference in Washington as a policy maker,” said U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA). “I’m so excited to see so many volunteers that have the same kind of vision and are wanting to step up and just really make a difference in their communities and in the lives of the people they live among.”
“The night I got involved with Moms Demand Action and attended my first meeting changed the course of my life. When I joined, I could not predict the skills and training I was going to gain, or most importantly, the relationships I would come across,” said Kansas State Rep. Jo Ella Hoye. “Once I realized how much of a difference it makes to have gun safety voices in Topeka, I knew this is what I need to do — run for office. I owe it to the movement and to the volunteers who show up every day. Because I did, in fact, have the skills necessary to get up and run, and win, and represent my constituents well — and so do you!”
“Moms Demand Action gave me an opportunity to move from interrupting violence in my community to working with a group of powerful advocates calling for changes in our gun laws — laws that make sense. Like so many other moms, you get tired of what’s happening in your community, and we had to get to a point where we stopped feeling helpless and learn how to harness the collective energy in our community, and build the confidence in ourselves to stand up, act out, and step out to lead and take on that charge. And now I’m not only a mom with Moms Demand Action, I’m also a Mayor Against Illegal Guns.” — Mayor of Mt. Vernon, NY Shawyn Patterson-Howard
More on the Demand a Seat program:
Since the launch of Demand a Seat, nearly 400 people have expressed interest and more than 140 applicants have been accepted from 37 states, including 63 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 will provide 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 will also create 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, 50 former volunteers with Moms Demand Action 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. Additionally, former Moms Demand Action volunteers Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) and Rep. Marie Newman (IL-03) are now members of Congress.