• Work in coalition to win a consumer-owned electric utility (COU) in Maine, either through the legislature or a public referendum.
  • In the process, build a statewide, high-participation organizing structure and skill base that will serve future efforts toward democratically run and publicly owned utilities, broadband internet, microgrids, etc.


Decision Making
We seek consensus. When unanimity can’t be reached in a workable timeframe we decide by a two-thirds vote. This process applies within teams and committees as well as the General Meeting. Regional and Local Organizing Committees will have latitude to develop and adapt the campaign to local conditions and opportunities.

Structure Overview
Maine Public Power is a project of the Maine Commons Committee of Maine DSA. Our structure will consist of a pyramid of organizing committees (local, regional, and state), plus a set of teams that provide specific supports such as data management and fundraising. The Maine Commons Committee will serve as our formal connection to Maine DSA, and our General Meetings will bring everyone together. However, throughout the structure, the agency of the individual to take effective action will be our central focus.

High Participation
While email, Slack, texting, and the like will necessarily play some role in our work, reliance on them as our primary methods of moving people to action would guarantee that we remain a small group of overstretched people who have slight impact. The proposed structure follows the example of well-organized unions who create high-participation organizations by building structures of direct person-to-person relationships. Everyone in the organizing structure has their set of people they talk to, like a phone tree but with two-way, relationship-building communication. In addition to depending heavily on one-on-one conversations, the success of this approach ultimately depends on identifying and developing the leadership of individuals who have significant social networks they can reliably mobilize to action.

One-One-One Conversation

This will be our core organizing skill. We will use it for:

  • Onboarding
  • Building connections within the group
  • Moving people to take action
  • Providing support to volunteers
  • Two-way communication throughout the organizing structure
  • Building skill/seeking and providing mentorship
  • Canvassing to build support for the consumer-owned utility
  • Recruiting people to volunteer or take on new responsibilities

Specific skills we will all develop to use in one-on-ones include:

  • Making empathic connections
  • Telling personal stories
  • Curiosity and listening
  • Role-playing
  • Brainstorming/problem solving
  • Framing useful questions
  • Making asks
  • Agitation
  • Inoculation

Deep Canvassing
Our work will likely culminate in a months-long effort to move Mainers to vote in favor of a COU. Every skill we develop in building our organizing structure will serve us as we turn to door-knocking and phone banking using deep canvassing methods. Deep canvassing involves building connection 1-1, sharing personal stories, listening, and asking questions that move people to act for the common good.


General Meetings
General meetings are where everyone involved in Public Power comes together to make the biggest decisions that give the fundamental shape and direction to the project. It is also a space for building connections within the group and developing skills and relevant knowledge.

Maine Commons Committee
The Maine Commons Committee is Public Power’s home within the committee structure of Maine DSA. Through it we may seek priority campaign status for financial and other support. The Maine Commons Committee chair will report monthly to the Maine DSA general meeting on the progress of Public Power.

Internal Structure (see org chart here)

  • State Organizing Committee
    • Comprised of
      • Two co-chairs, elected by the General Meeting
      • Support-Team leads
      • Other initial volunteers who want to learn and become better organizers
      • Recruits, as people demonstrate ability and willingness to learn
    • Responsibilities
      • Cultivate leadership and skill-building throughout the organization
      • Recruit and support the Regional Organizing Committees
      • Define responsibilities of support teams and recruit 1–3 people to start
      • Define the specific roles of the organizing structure
      • Make strategy and organizational proposals to the General Meeting
      • Plan General Meeting agenda and facilitate
      • Plan onboarding/organizing meetings, until development of an onboarding team
      • Develop organizing goals and plans for the campaign
      • Serve as coordinating hub between the support teams
      • Keep things moving, catch falling eggs etc.
  • Regional Organizing Committees
    • Adapt campaign to regional conditions and opportunities
    • Support Local Organizing Committees through 1-1’s
    • Recruit new committee members based on demonstrated ability to recruit others to take action
    • Report successes and challenges back to State Committee through 1-1’s
    • Recruit people to specific actions (i.g., signature gathering, canvassing, recruiting others)
  • Local Organizing Committees
    • Adapt campaign to local conditions and opportunities
    • Recruit people 1-1 to specific actions (i.g., signature gathering, canvassing, recruiting others)
    • Recruit new committee members based on demonstrated ability to recruit others to take action
    • Recruit people who aren’t organizers onto support teams or to more actions
    • Report successes and challenges back to Regional Committee through 1-1’s
  • Support Teams
    • Coalition, Communications, Power-Mapping, Fundraising and Finance, IT/Data, On-boarding
    • These are state level but may develop regional and local subgroups as needed. The State Organizing Committee will define team responsibilities and recruit initial members. Some may only need one person to start.


April and May
-Establish the State Organizing Committee and elect co-chairs
-Use participation in the legislative process to build proto-regional committees

June-January ’22
-Use referendum signature collection to develop the Regional and Local Organizing Committees
-Build basic set of support teams as needed
-Develop deep canvassing campaign

February – November
-Pivot organizing committees to deep canvassing and sustain until the vote


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