Howard FranklinThe short story is that RCD alumnus Howard Franklin (@iruncampaigns on Twitter and Instagram) is a regulatory affairs lobbyist and political gunslinger for Ohio River South. The fuller tale is that Howard is one of the most sought-after strategists in the American South. Splitting his time between the state capitol and campaign trail, Howard has advanced the political careers and policies of a bevy of our region’s leading lawmakers. He transitioned into politics after working for Mayor Maynard Jackson, and has since led a string of electoral and legislative victories that were heavily dependent on innovative campaigns in earned media and grassroots outreach. So much of this began with Howard’s service on the Red Clay board for five consecutive years, including service as Chair of the Campaigns Committee, as President, and finally as Chair of the Board.

RCD Five Questions:

1) Why did you join Red Clay?

I joined Red Clay when it was one of the only progressive groups available to young professionals. At the time, most of our members were midtown lawyers, and I’m especially proud of the diversity of profession, geography and ethnicity that I helped usher into the organization.

2) How did participating in Red Clay fundraising and activities open up an opportunity for you that you wouldn’t have had otherwise? Be specific!

Participating in Red Clay allowed me to rub shoulders with statewide and congressional leaders prior to building a bonafide career in southern politics. It’s still one of the best organizations for getting to know the once and future political leaders of our state.

3) What values do you find especially critical to live and promote in your public life?

With the proliferation of social media, fake news, and alternative facts; discernment in public life is more important than ever.

4) How is money raised for state and local Democratic campaigns used, and why does it matter?

By and large, local campaigns are powered by modest contributions from everyday people. It matters because the most important enterprise in this grand experiment called America is largely underfunded and under-appreciated, particularly at the city and state level.

5) Tell us a joke about politics, politicians, or PACs!

“Not one single newspaper of any import endorsed Donald Trump. And then Donald Trump won anyway and you realize there are certain things the press cannot disabuse you of. It’s like the movie Suicide Squad … Every movie critic in America basically wrote, ‘Don’t see this movie. This movie is dumb and it doesn’t make any sense.’ And America was like, ‘I’m going to see Suicide Squad.’”
-Seth Meyers