Citizen Leader Spotlight: Bob Winkleman

Citizen leader Bob Winkleman lives in a small town of 4,000 people outside of Philadelphia. Politically active for most of his life, he's had an especially close view of the political process via his wife, who is a Pennsylvania State Representative.

“All of my political activity has been focused on the nuts and bolts of getting a candidate elected," says Bob. "Door knocking, phone calling, working at the polls on Election Day. I had never been involved in trying to advocate for a specific issue. I did not know how to do it, and I felt intimidated."

Bob watched as people lobbied his wife on everything from fracking and gambling to workplace accommodations for nursing mothers. It became evident to him that direct interaction with lawmakers was the key to getting things accomplished. He decided to take action on an issue he was particularly concerned about: big money in politics.

Starting with his inner circle, Bob invited five local activists to join him in an video call with Azor Cole, a Citizen Empowerment Coordinator at American Promise. The group discussed American Promise’s strategy for restoring balance to our political system and how motivated citizens can effectively influence their elected officials to support an amendment. The group resolved to rally their community by inviting fellow citizens to a public meeting at the local borough hall to engage with American Promise.

"Azor created a Facebook event page, and we started making phone calls and talking to people at political events and around town," says Bob. Thirty-three people attended. "The event went really well. People were engaged, and there was terrific interaction."

With the help of American Promise and Azor, Bob’s event resulted in a small group of very engaged citizens, ready to actively take on big money in politics. That group has been working its way through leadership training sessions.

"It has been a great experience," says Bob. "I have met some terrific new people. I feel like with all the things going on in the country that I do not like and cannot control, here is something concrete that I can do. It feels like we are working on something fundamentally important. I am excited to learn more about grassroots lobbying and getting a resolution passed here in Pennsylvania."

Learn how you can be a part of the solution by visiting the “Take Action” page of our website.