Common Sense to Launch Grassroots Advocacy Campaign in California

Multiyear, Seven-Figure Mobilization Campaign Led by Top National Campaign Talent Will Activate Parents Who Want Their Kids to Have a Better Future

Common Sense Media
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

San Francisco, CA – With California ranking 49 out of 50 in the nation for standard of living for kids, and one in four California kids not having enough food to eat, Common Sense Kids Action is launching a multiyear, seven-figure parent-mobilization campaign to make kids the state's top priority. The long-term grassroots mobilization campaign is building a movement of parents who will organize around a set of common-sense public policies aimed at ensuring kids thrive.

The team of experienced community-based organizers will include campaign director Buffy Wicks, White House official and former top advisor to both Obama presidential campaigns; director of mobilization Leah Cowan, former campaign manager for Ro Khanna and Obama campaign regional field director; Joel Benenson, pollster for President Obama and Hillary Clinton; and fundraiser Liz Lowery, the former deputy national finance director for Obama for America.

"Parents are always going to be the most effective advocates for their kids, and our job has always been to give them tools to do that," said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense. "We have an all-star team of campaign strategists with deep organizing experience who will mobilize California parents to be a force for kids in politics. Parents are alarmed and concerned that their kids are going to be worse off in the future than they are today. This is a community-based, parent-led movement to pressure policymakers to make kids the top priority."

For over a decade, parents, educators, and policymakers have trusted Common Sense for independent, objective information about media, entertainment, and digital learning tools. With the addition of Common Sense Kids Action in 2015, Common Sense now helps parents shape their children's environment as well as navigate it. Earlier this month, Common Sense announced its new legislative ratings of policies that are "For Kids" or "Against Kids" to help parents make informed political choices and to hold policymakers accountable when it comes to standing up for kids.

Campaign manager Wicks said, "Children don't have entrenched special interest groups. There are no dark money slush funds for kids. No lobbyists on retainer. No super PACs raising millions from the ultra-rich to protect society's most valuable asset -- our kids. It's time to make kids our No. 1 priority. Millions of parents throughout California already turn to Common Sense for trusted information to help their kids thrive. We will provide a clear, objective voice for parents to make informed decisions when they go to the ballot box."

"The big special interests in this country have powerful organizations fighting for them," said Mark McKinnon, Common Sense Kids Action board member, Republican strategist, and executive producer for Showtime's The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show On Earth. "Finally the little interests who are truly special have someone looking out for them."

Common Sense Kids Action will create a parent movement throughout the state by using a proven community-based organizing model that teaches a core of concerned parent leaders how to spark and grow a movement, including how to use online resources and voter files; speak publicly; connect with other concerned parents; and effectively organize house parties, community meetings, and other organizing events, including lobby days and in-district meetings with elected officials.

The campaign will organize around a variety of issues this year: the November 2016 ballot, including a kid-centric voter guide; the Right Start Commission recommendations, which will focus on improving California's early childhood systems and will be released in April; and Common Sense Kids Action's legislative priorities, including high-quality early childhood, schools designed to ensure every student graduates ready to succeed in college and career, and Common Sense Support for Families, including policies that address poverty and other barriers to providing children with the right start, such as paid sick and family and medical leave.

The November 2016 election is only the beginning of the campaign's long-term commitment to making kids the top priority in California and throughout the nation. In 2017, the campaign will expand in California and in other states as Common Sense focuses on growing an army of parents who will help voters make informed decisions and keep the pressure on policymakers to put kids first.

Common Sense is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, as is this campaign, which will draw heavily on Common Sense's broad spectrum of parents and users, as well is its bipartisan advisory board. Common Sense's grassroots advocacy campaign will leverage the unparalleled organizing expertise of political trailblazers on behalf of kids in the weeks and months ahead.

To learn more about the campaign visit:

Common Sense Kids Action, visit:

About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators thrive in a world of media and technology. We rate, educate, and advocate on behalf of kids, families, and schools. Common Sense Media, which facilitates the consumer website, offers the world's largest and most trusted library of age-based ratings and reviews of all types of content targeted at kids, and our research-based curriculum and tools are used in over 100,000 U.S. schools. For more information, go to

Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544
[email protected]