tech networks, #2018midterms, democracy, midterms, election2018, year in review, swingleft, volunteering

Making an Impact: Susan Labandibar and Swing Left Greater Boston

The morning after the 2016 Presidential Election, after all of the poll frenzies settled and the vitriolic tweets had been sent, many Americans were in shock over who would be the next president. Newsfeeds were filled with stunned commentators and disenchanted voters lamenting a broken system. But there were others who saw this unprecedented election as a wake-up call, and Susan Labandibar was one of them.

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, Susan knew that the new administration was an existential threat to everything that she had worked for as a climate activist. She started looking ahead and thought that the best way to put the brakes on Trump’s agenda was to take back the House in 2018. Because she didn’t live in a swing state, Susan started looking for ways that her time could make the biggest impact – that’s how she found Swing Left. Immediately, she saw that their mission of helping people in blue states to volunteer in swing districts was the best path forward.

Susan has always been the kind of person who dives wholeheartedly into a project – this is what helped her found Tech Networks of Boston, and it is what drove her to become the Regional Organizing Coordinator for Swing Left. When she took on the role, she soon discovered that her biggest obstacle would be convincing volunteers from Massachusetts that they had the power to stop the Trump juggernaut by helping elect Democrats in swing districts. She knew she would need to use all of the tools at her disposal, and that was when Tech Networks of Boston entered the picture.

As the President and Founder of Tech Networks of Boston, Susan approached our team about creating a website for Swing Left Greater Boston. It was a daunting project, but our staff hit the ground running and worked over the summer to create a fully functional website for Swing Left Greater Boston’s efforts… and thus was born.

The staff at Tech Networks also helped guide Swing Left volunteers in social media management, content development, and online engagement. The group Trip to Flip also needed help developing webpage content, and Tech Networks’ staff took conference calls with their team in order to house their online content on 

Swing Left helped to flip 40 seats in the House of Representatives! Of the 84 swing districts, 16 stayed blue and 39 were flipped from red to blue. Swing Left Greater Boston rocked Maine’s Second Congressional district and was a secret ingredient that helped get Jared Golden elected. Susan was awestruck at the number of people from the Boston area who jumped into their cars and headed to rural Maine to knock on doors.

When we asked Susan “What’s next?” she said, “What amazes me most is how fired up our volunteers are… everyone I know is ready for a second round. We’re going to defeat Trump, fix our broken Congress, and finally restore faith in our democracy.” It sounds like she’s just getting started.

 Swing Left Greater Boston by the Numbers:

  • 6,613 people read one of the 22 SLGB newsletters.
  • 1,819 people volunteered via the SLGB website.
  • 568 canvassers signed up to share rides to New Hampshire and Maine on the carpool hub.
  • 95 people rode the Swing Left bus to Maine on the Last Weekend.
  • 85 “Trip to Flippers” spent four days or more volunteering in faraway swing districts, including Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and New York.
  • 35 volunteers left Boston by 5AM on Election Day in order to fill an 8AM shift in Maine.

 Are you working on any specific impact initiatives outside of your professional duties? We'd like to hear them in the comment section below!



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