Excerpt: Interview with David Soares

News & Politics
TEMPLETON: You were the outsider and the underdog. Were you surprised that you won?
SOARES: No, we put in the work. We didn’t have the money but we had the people. Money allows you to reach people in sound bites. My campaign was door-to-door. We could really talk through things with people. And it worked.

TEMPLETON: Who was in the coalition that supported you?
SOARES: It was built up from people I’d already worked with when I was in the DA’s office. I was assigned to deal with the most challenged areas in Albany. I had to build a coalition not for political purposes but for the purpose of public safety�teaching [people] how to hold agencies accountable. [The coalition] included churches, neighborhood associations, progressives, the drug treatment community�a rainbow of many preexisting coalitions.

TEMPLETON: How does your local victory differ from the Republicans’ national victory?
SOARES: In my case, you had someone finally say, “Enough is enough�this is wrong.� Someone who had every reason to continue on in the institution that was paying my mortgage and car payment like it was all okay. I think this resonated with people.

TEMPLETON: The media says that the Republicans won on moral values. Was there anything comparable in your race that made people vote for you?
SOARES: The inherent sense of unfairness in a system that’s supposed to represent justice. We have this vision of justice�she . . . [has] her scales, her sword, and blinders. But the Rockefeller drug laws in their application violate all of that. The thing that my opponents don’t see is that most people have a person in their family with either a drug or drinking problem; addiction isn’t confined to a particular zip code.

TEMPLETON: What’s your advice to the Democratic leadership?
SOARES: You cannot take people for granted. Demographics have shifted, but you still haven’t gone back to the communities you’ve taken for granted for so long. Get back to your base; do not underestimate the power of the door-to-door campaign. Organizations that exist in your area that you may deem to have opposing views�look to them for the common views and [to] bring people in. Look at what brings people together.

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