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Warren Martin, Executive Director Kansas Strong
2023 1st Quarter Newsletter

Speaking to the Next Generation

“But how many of them vote?”

I was recently in a meeting talking about messaging and campaigns to reach the people of Kansas. On the table was a proposal to do Spanish messaging in some parts of Kansas. The objection I expected and which came up was, “But how many of them vote?”

The reality is demographics are changing. Age, financial, language, and social interests are just a few of the changing metrics we follow. If you look at some regions in Kansas (i.e., Liberal, Dodge City, and Garden City), demographics have changed to where the minority has become the majority. However, Johnson County and Wyandotte County have also seen a dynamic shift in demographics, with more Spanish-speaking people moving into those regions.

It is not limited to a racial shift in demographics, though. There is a widening gap between age demographics, especially those concerned with specific social interests. Change is inevitable. Change is good. Change is bad. Change is…change. Change is reality.

The question becomes, how do we communicate with the changing demographics? Do we ignore them and play to the core demographics we have always tried to reach? Do we reach out to them? And if so, why.”

The “why” is the main point. When asked the question, “But how many of them vote?” I was forced to acknowledge that not many of them do. And that is the way of change. Not many of the people who move into an area take an initial leadership role in an area or voice their concerns for the first-time vote! That is just a fact. They work in the shadows of the community and gradually get more and more involved.

However, they also tend to be very vocal and respected. They are what Seth Godin would call “sneezers”!  In his book Ideavirus, he lays out how ideas spread like germs throughout a society. In the movie Inception (2010), this idea is played out by Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who says, “An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”

This is the conclusion that began his statement, “What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it's almost impossible to eradicate.”

Victor Hugo once wrote, “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.”

The reality is we are not competing for votes! That is a short-term solution that will inevitably lead to a colossal fall. We are competing for the minds of people. We are striving to educate and explain the position and purpose oil & natural gas play in people’s lives and the consequences of regulating them out of existence.

It is vital to understand that while the people we speak to might not vote currently… their kids and grandkids will! And the messages (“ideas”) they latch onto will most certainly guide their vote. That is why it is vital to communicate to ALL populations now! That is why Kansas Strong will launch its first-ever Spanish campaign in Kansas and continue to develop its efforts to communicate with students across the state.

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