A former political speechwriter and communications strategist for US Senators, Fred Gooltz’s first work in politics was young voter mobilization. Just as the Wide Awakes organized the liberal youth vote of 1860, Gooltz worked with organizations that mobilized young voters in 2004.
Similar to the Wide Awakes’ use of new telegraph lines and youth parades, Gooltz harnessed new media tools like MySpace and happy hour meet-ups to help grow a decentralized political group called “Drinking Liberally” into a national phenomenon before the 2006 midterm elections – elections where young voters propelled the Democratic Party into Congressional majorities.
Gooltz also organized young voters with groups like “Rock the Vote,“ and “Music for America” which registered young voters at concert venues, and with “Vote Mob” which registered voters in college hangouts like coffee shops. Spurring young people into activism through social activities proves to have been a winning strategy since 1860.
So much of his early political work was powered by first-generation internet tools that Gooltz was awarded an activist fellowship with “Credo Action” where he began developing phone-enabled voter mobilization techniques that have been utilized in every major election since 2008.
Buoyed by wins, Gooltz wrote young voter strategy articles for a youth vote blog called “Future Majority” – which later resulted in the book “Youth to Power.” He taught strategy at Norman Lear’s youth activism training center “Young People For.”
In addition to approaching young voter strategy precisely the way the heroes of this story did 140 years ago – creating fun, easy entryways into political involvement – Gooltz is also like the characters in Wide Awake in that he grew up in a small New England town and set out to change the world.
Gooltz lives in Los Angeles and is represented by Lars Theriot at Industry Entertainment.