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Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn

Elected D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner

Patrick Flynn lives in Washington, DC and decided to put the skills he learned during the Semester in Washington Politics program by running for local office this year.

“The hands on experience I gained at SIW in the summer of 2007 was invaluable and contributed to my success in running for office,” said Patrick. “Talking about campaigning is one thing, but actually organizing around real issues and real people in a real race is quite another. SIW helped me realize the distinction and learn from both.”

ANC stands for Advisory Neighborhood Commission and serves as the most basic, hyper-local level of elected government in the District of Columbia. The ANC's job is to advise the District Council, as well as various other District-wide government entities, on local issues. There are forty ANCs spread across the District's eight wards, with each comprised of between two and thirteen individual commissioners. There are 296 commissioners like Patrick in total. Each commissioner represents approximately 2,000 people who live in a specific geographic area known as a Single Member District or "SMD." 

“I ran for ANC because I want to improve neighborhood safety, reform parking regulations, and foster a sense of community for all who live, work, and go to school in ANC 1A06,” said Patrick. “The office and the issues are hyper-local and so was the campaigning. I banged on every door in my SMD until I either spoke to someone or had tried three times. In doing so, I got to know the people and the district while I also verified and updated the information on the voter registration lists. At the same time, I took every opportunity to register as many new people to vote as I possibly could.

“Through this door-to-door campaigning I found out who and where the voters were and what issues mattered to them. Then I formulated a campaign platform that combined my issues with my constituents’ issues in a way that differentiated me from my two opponents. Then, I campaigned on it daily via the same door-to-door canvassing methodology. I supplemented that effort with literature, direct mail, interviews with the local press, and town halls at local community centers - but face time is what got it done.”

Patrick has a few words of wisdom for other up-and-coming political candidates: “To all the young people out there who are contemplating a run or debating whether to ‘wait your turn,’ I would say forget the wait but do turn to Nike for inspiration - ‘Just do it.’ Besides, what do you really have to lose?”