Evan Shields is running for the position of Treasurer of the Democratic Executive Committee at the December 7 Organizational Meeting.
In a Treasurer, I believe we need a trustworthy leader with an organizer’s spirit who can get things done. As an activist, educator and business leader, I’ve embodied these traits in all that I do and believe I’m up to the task. Since 2007, before I could even vote, I have dedicated my life to uplifting the underserved, as a proud Democrat.
I’ve been an Elected Member to our Democratic Executive Committee since 2019, and am a member of the Miami-Dade Democratic Black Caucus, and a former Membership Chair of the Downtown Dems. In this 2020 election cycle, I became a founding Board Director of the Northeast Miami-Dade Democrats, a group that’s become a north Dade powerhouse. Through the Pandemic, our group built broad coalitions across our community and recruited a diverse team of more than 150 volunteers. We knocked on over 2,000 doors, wrote more than 18,000 postcards, staffed Early Voting sites, adopted 40 Election Day precincts, and cured several hundreds of ballots.
We organized a “Roll to the Polls” initiative, with service in English, Spanish and Creole, when many of our most vulnerable voters — our lower-income, disabled and seniors — voiced that they did not have an Election Week ride to vote. Our program not only delivered rides across all of Miami-Dade, from Homestead, to Hialeah, but Broward too, from Miramar, to Fort Lauderdale.
In 2008, I volunteered in my first campaign ever for Pres. Obama at the University of Virginia. Between 2009 and 2012, I fought for University employees’ "Living Wage,” for a Memorial for Enslaved Laborers, and for DREAMers to rightfully attend our University — all progressive campaigns that have each come to their fruition today. From 2012 to 2015, I served as a high school math teacher in some of Georgia’s most underserved communities, the hardest yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in life. And I started moonlighting then as an organizer, when my kids and parents needed better local elected representation.
I earned my MBA in Corporate Finance and Commercial Real Estate from UNC Chapel Hill, because our kids and communities need advocates everywhere, from our classrooms to our board rooms. The last 5 years, I have helped manage nearly $4.5 billion in community-focused investments as an executive. About $3 billion of this has been in affordable housing — projects that have housed more than 22,000 very low-income families, seniors and homeless in 24 states across the country, including nearly every corner of Florida.
I know a good bit about campaign finance. And I also know my way around a balance sheet too, the nuts-and-bolts of being a good Treasurer. But I’d also be a fresh voice in our County party, in a time when we may need a fresh perspective the most to translate all the 2020 Florida and Miami-Dade post-mortems into lasting change for the 2021/2022 cycle and beyond.
I appreciate your consideration of my background and candidacy for the position of Treasurer for our DEC.
Why Are You Running for Treasurer?
In a Treasurer, I believe we need a trustworthy leader with an organizer’s spirit who can get things done. As an activist, educator and business leader, I’ve embodied these traits in all that I do and believe I’m up to the task. Additionally, I hold an MBA in Corporate Finance and Commercial Real Estate from UNC Chapel Hill, and have 5 years of direct work in finance, accounting, data analytics and campaign finance I believe would serve me well within the role.
Like you, I’m also still processing the 2020 election, what went right, and what went terribly wrong for us in Miami-Dade and Florida. That said, I think we need a G.R.O.W.T.H strategy for our county DEC and our state:
(1) GROW back our voter registration advantage.
(2) RELATIONAL organizing, all year-round. The grassroots peer-to-peer kind that empowers leaders to organize their friends in the community and LISTEN, deeply.
(3) OWN our message. Because our policies are WINNING (i.e. $15-hr wage amendment), but our message needs a RE-BRAND. I believe our relational organizing takeaways will better inform us along the way. I also, and personally, believe an economic-centered, pocketbook issues-focused message will resonate through 2022 and help us fight against “socialism” claims.
(4) WIN with inclusion. Because we’re the most diverse county in America; no group is a “monolith;” our African-American communities need re-investment, our Haitian-American communities need uplifting, and we need a “multi-flag strategy” across every Hispanic group that recognizes the rich and historic differences between our Puerto Rican and Cuban-, Colombian-, Nicaraguan-, Venezuelan-, and Mexican-American heritages. Every member of our coalition needs to see themselves in our collective vision.
(5) TEAM of Surrogates: a dream team of local Democratic surrogates - our DEC elected members, our rising bench of community leaders, electeds, activists - who can rapid response SPEAK to both the MEDIUM and the ISSUES of each group in our COALITION, OFTEN... and shut down GOP disinformation while uplifting our own message.
(6) HACK the System. We got a huge data “head start” in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, but the Republicans have now more than surpassed us with micro-targeting. We may need to upgrade our thinking from “data-based” to “analytics-based” decision-making and “hack the system” with new digital ideas.
None of these ideas are original to me, nor do they represent an exhaustive list. Nor does each exist in a vacuum, as each work strategically in tandem. As I have said in the middle of this Pandemic, change is hard. It takes time. Yet, I’m still hopeful for our future, and you should be too. With that hope in tow, I believe that if we also listen and stay proximate to our communities’ issues, actively change the narrative, and persevere through times of discomfort... change will happen. It always does.
I thank you in advance for your questions and consideration of my candidacy.