On Canvassing Kansas

We’re in Kansas right now. With the sole purpose of hearing from you, the people.

“Why Kansas?” You might ask. First, and most importantly, the majority of Kansans (like myself) have recently expressed dissatisfaction with their current government.

Just late this last year the Kansas City Star ran a long investigative series on secrecy within our state’s legislature. The series raised many important questions, however most generally boiled down to: what is our government trying to hide? Kansans are increasingly becoming more and more suspicious of their government and the Republican and Democratic parties are falling out of fashion. The number of people registered as independents or unaffiliated grows every day (31% at the time of writing).

It is precisely due to the ongoing secrecy and dissatisfaction that we selected Kansas as a first stop on our canvassing efforts. We are asking six open-ended questions (feel free to take our survey and give us your thoughts as well). They are open-ended because this is not a poll. We believe that it is extremely difficult to garner actionable insights from numbers and percentages.

The entrenched powers that be love to paint in black and white, but take a walk through any town in Kansas and it’s quite obvious that constituencies are much more colorful. We hope that flexible questions will provide people the platform to give longer and more insightful answers than simple yes’s and no’s.

In analyzing the surveys, we are partnering with some of the smartest analysts in the country to help us identify common issues and themes within your answers to provide real color to the spectrum. With this insight comes a clearer profile of a constituency and what a suitable candidate for them might look like.

And, if you ask me, I don’t think the portrait Kansans will be painting with their words will resemble Sam Brownback.

The point of it all? We will be sharing the insights we uncover in our travels back to you—the people—in hopes of creating an active feedback loop. We’re looking to start a conversation. And the most important thing is open dialogue. We think it’s important for Kansans to hear the thoughts of their fellow citizen and find commonalities therein. Only with common understanding of the problems we’re all facing can we affect change.

We then hope to keep the conversations going by sharing your opinions with our members, Leaders, and their Circles and get your voice heard on a national scale.

Once we get people talking, we will be able to recruit, mobilize, and organize across the state in an effort to get the right issues addressed, the right people into office, and the transparency back in our government. Isn’t it time to bring these conversations out of a few buildings in Topeka and back to Kansans?

I think so. Hopefully you do too.



Zach Colby

This post was written by Zach Colby.

Zach, a native Kansan, graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2015. At W&L he studied economics and music and captained the soccer team. After graduating he worked at a startup in San Francisco. For most of 2017 Zach traveled the world pursuing philanthropic efforts tied to soccer. He has since settled in SAM's Denver Hub as Field Director.

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