Tag Archives: community forums

Brainstormin’ with Mr. Google

The candidate works the room.

The candidate works the room.

Matt Dunne, former state senator, current Google exec and Democratic candidate for governor, is slow-rolling his campaign unveil with a series of Community Forums around the state. On Tuesday night, he made a stop in downtown Montpelier; about 20 people gathered in the upstairs offices of Local 64, a coworking space. (Appropriately trendy location, yes?) Some nibbly snacks were on offer, as well as appropriately local beer. (Your Reporter contented himself with an excellent iced tea purchased at the North Branch Cafe downstairs.)

The takeaway: ehh, it was a perfectly cromulent way to low-key a campaign launch. Nothing wrong with the idea. But I have to admit, I take these kinds of events with a massive grain of salt.

First, it’s not exactly a new concept. Bruce Lisman reintroduced himself to Vermonters with a Listening Tour, and Phil Scott spent a few nights last winter holding Economy Pitches. If Matt Dunne is trying to present himself as a different kind of candidate, borrowing chapters from the Phil Scott Playbook isn’t the best way to make that case. (Nothing against Phil, he’s just not a cutting-edge kind of guy.)

Second, when I walk into a room containing oversized pads of white paper on easels and a goodly supply of Sharpies, something inside me shrivels up a little. I guess it’s all those idea sessions I sat through in my previous working lives. The assembled are addressed with great earnestness, we offer ideas, they get written down on the white pads, the full pages get taped to the walls, everybody leaves, and — in my experience — nothing much comes of it.

Dunne promised otherwise. “The whole list will be posted online,” he said at the event’s conclusion. After seeking further input, he said, the ideas gathered at the forums “will be incorporated into our platform.”

I kinda hope not. But we’ll get to that later.

Continue reading