Campaign mission statement:

We gather as a team not only with the purpose of electing Allison Gustavson to the state representative seat in the Fourth Essex district of Massachusetts, but also to re-engage citizens in the processes upon which our American representative democracy depends.  In so doing, we view this campaign through the lens of a specific and targeted outcome, of course, as well as an opportunity to invigorate the political process in our district for generations to come, thus leaving a legacy of empowerment that transcends specific outcomes.  We are committed to both utilizing time-tested best practices where necessary and appropriate and to honoring and harnessing the energy, creativity, skills and insight brought to bear on the project by each individual contributor to the effort regardless of prior political experience.  We seek to reimagine the political process not as a separate and distinct domain of a self-selected group of people to whom we pay brief attention every few years, but rather as an ongoing and dynamic conversation by which we individually and collectively answer the most pressing and fundamental questions about how to live as a society.  With this aim in mind, we equally commit to the following principles and will use them throughout the campaign as direct guidelines for action and decision-making:


  • There is room for everyone in this campaign who wishes to participate.  We consider every contribution (time, energy, money, ideas) to be an honor and a testament to the larger vision, and are thus demonstrably grateful for the generosity with which all actions on its behalf are taken.  We seek to express that gratitude explicitly and consistently, and to never take for granted the complexities that must be surmounted to be working toward such an endeavor.  We will work to ensure that when contributing to the effort in any manner, people feel seen, heard, and connected to the campaign as a part of an extended family united by common purpose.  


  • We believe in the inestimable power of words, and will use them carefully and always with the most elevated, non-divisive/reductive meaning in mind.  To that end, for example, we view all people living in the Fourth Essex district not as voters, but as constituents; a “voter” is a resource to be counted, but a “constituent” is a person whose thoughts, opinions, and stories are to be heard and understood.  


  • We commit to managing our resources (time, money, energy, natural resources, volunteers) as wisely as possible, recognizing that they are the bedrock of our campaign and that, like the fruits of a garden, they are both finite and replenishable only under proper stewardship and care.  When deciding whether to enlist the time and energy of volunteers or to spend campaign money, we will always ask ourselves: does this directly serve the larger mission, and does it honor the value of the resource? Put another way, we seek to waste neither volunteer time, nor money, nor natural resources (paper, gasoline) and instead to use our campaign plan and budget to efficiently and effectively direct the expenditure of both.


  • We are committed to truth, honesty, lifelong learning, and personal growth.  We believe that manipulating information to achieve a desired outcome is a small and temporary victory, and instead view all people as “in progress” rather than as fixed and determined entities.  Through this lens, we therefore view mistakes as opportunities for deeper knowledge and awareness and proactively reject pigeonholing both within the campaign and from outside by those who seek to undermine it.  


  • This campaign is founded upon the idea that it is not only the outcomes in terms of critical issues that are at stake, but also the structures and procedures by which decisions about those issues are made.  We are committed to a campaign that reflects, at every level and at every moment and in every communication both written and oral, the tone by which we would like to see our leadership guided at all levels of government.  This tone is not limited to simply a barren veneer of respect, civility, and “political correctness”, but must also necessarily include an overarching commitment to personal integrity, as well as a sense of inquisitiveness, curiosity, good-natured humor, joy, fun, and even love.


  • We believe deeply in what we are doing, and in the possibilities inherent in this unique cultural and political moment. We believe that when we respect the individuality and particular circumstances of all citizens, and when we recognize that we cannot judge (and need not fear) that which we do not directly understand, then we will cease to condescend to and compartmentalize our fellow citizens and instead work together to the ultimate benefit of all.  


Let’s leave it better than we found it.