Citizen Leader Spotlight: Vicki Barnes
When Vicki Barnes learned she was going to be a grandmother, she knew she had to help tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, so she can create a better world for her grandchildren. She decided to join American Promise because getting big money out of politics is at the center of a host of other issues. Read more about Vicki’s involvement with American Promise.
“This is not the world I want to leave for my children and grandchildren.”
It’s a sentiment that is expressed a lot these days. For Vicki Barnes, learning she was about to become a grandmother spurred her into action. Instead of concluding that the problems faced by our nation are too large, Vicki became active in fighting for what she believed in.
“I looked around and saw that this is not the country my grandchildren deserve,” Vicki says. “I started doing research and found that an amendment was the only way to permanently correct the bad Supreme Court decisions that got us into this mess.”
She discovered American Promise via social media. Vicki knew that Americans across the political spectrum would need to come together in order to pass an amendment, so the cross-partisan nature of American Promise appealed to her.
Today, Vicki works as the Minnesota State Coordinator for MN American Promise. She appreciates that American Promise provides assistance to local American Promise Associations while allowing them to implement strategies best suited for their communities.
“They let me do my thing,” Vicki says. “Every state is different, and we try every which way we can to make progress. I am working in Greater Minnesota, and we can’t have someone from the East Coast fly in and expect to get smaller rural areas to embrace something as far fetched as an amendment. So American Promise provides me with resources and expertise, along with legal counsel and promotions to make progress the way we have found works here.”
When organizing citizens of different political parties for action, Vicki looks past partisan differences and focuses on the principle that unites a majority of Americans: getting big money out of elections and restoring the nation’s democratic values.
“I do not know if people who attend are left or right leaning. We do not discuss issues or politics,” Vicki says. “Once in a while, someone may bring something up that is partisan, and I reply, ‘That is a discussion that Americans need to have. But we cannot do so until we get the loud voices of special interest money out of the conversation.’ Or sometimes, a person may shout out, ‘Like the NRA,’ when we talk about social welfare groups, to which I reply, ‘And Planned Parenthood,’ so they know all groups are influencing our elections, and they will be treated the same.”
Vicki says her greatest achievement with American Promise has been growing support for the 28th Amendment using community outreach. To recruit more members, Vicki relies on existing members to reach out to those around them.
“The members are handfuls of folks that are very involved in many things, but take the time to work on the amendment,” Vicki says. “They have hometown connections and are able to go from three people to 30 or more people with a single email.”
Through letters to the editor, meetings with candidates and elected officials, and grassroots outreach, MN American Promise is working to get statewide support for the 28th Amendment. Thanks in large part to Vicki, that strategy continues to be successful.