“If you look back to the last mayoral election in 2011, only 18% of all registered voters came out to vote. That means that roughly 855,000 voters who are registered remained silent, they didn’t say a word,” states a passionate Doug Oliver. As this alarming statistic started to sink in, Doug began to lay out his plan to not only increase the number of voters in Philadelphia but to also engage them and get them involved in the political process.
Traditionally candidates announce they are running for office and in no time they are going door-to-door, kissing babies, and hosting rallies with influential and celebrity figures. However, Mr. Oliver is moving in a different direction and is looking to engage potential voters and create ways for them to be involved in the political process. He is doing so by launching what is known as an exploratory committee. Think of it almost like dating. You just can’t go up to someone and say hey I want to be your boyfriend/girlfriend. You have to engage them and romance them, then eventually you guys can become an item.
The DO2015 exploratory committee is essentially the dating period between Mr. Oliver and the voters of Philadelphia. “You just can’t tell people I want to be your candidate. They don’t know anything about you. They don’t understand your approach, who you are, the way you think,” Doug explains. His approach is to engage Philadelphia voters with a predominately digital campaign. Going back to the dating analogy, think of it as an online dating profile. However, instead of waiting for interested folks to approach him about his ideas, Doug is being extremely pro-active and engaging Philadelphians and exploring their concerns and at the same time introducing his policies.
Having spent the last decade bouncing between city hall and municipally owned PGW, Doug has made a name for himself as a communications guru. His expertise in communications has earned him notable titles such as Press Secretary for Mayor Nutter and his current position as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications for PGW. Looking at his resume, Doug Oliver has an impressive track record of engaging both the everyday citizen as well as high level executives. “I started realizing that a lot of the business problems that needed to be solved have political twists to them that needed to be managed and so communication got me into politics because everybody needs a good communicator and actually when you look at politics, one of the most important aspects of a good elected official is the ability to communicate clearly,” Doug explains.
Applying his business and political savvy to the DO2015 campaign, Doug Oliver looks to put his skills to good use. However, having experience working with tight budgets, Doug is also being strategic with his approach by relying heavily on technology and social media. In the past running for mayor has always meant breaking the bank. Mayoral candidates can spend anywhere from $8 million-$10 million dollars Doug explains. However, leveraging a digital campaign alleviates the need for deep pockets. Doug’s philosophy is that if he can engage voters and discover where their interests lie, there is no need to spend an obscene amount of money on a campaign. As Doug firmly states “I think that if you’re engaging them [voters] and they’re interested, they’re invested, then they go out and they vote and didn’t necessarily come to the cost of $8 to $10 million.” He adds “Social media is one of the ways we now have available to us to get in front of a lot of people without necessarily having to knock on their door in a traditional get out and vote process.”
Using technology and social media in the political realm is not groundbreaking by any means but relying heavily on a digital platform to win an election has been seen as nearly impossible by most. However, Doug Oliver is not phased in the slightest and is confident in his team’s ability to use what many consider a supplementary tool and turn it into a primary weapon. One of the many things Doug has going for him is his age. With an influx of millennials flocking to Philadelphia, Doug can relate to their needs and wants because he is one of them. In the past 10 years over 50,000 people between the ages of 18-35 have made Philadelphia their new home. These types tend to be tech savvy and firm in what they want, which is two things a job and good schools. If elected Mayor, Doug Oliver will make it a priority to engage the new as well as native millennials and ensure that they are more than content with making Philadelphia their permanent home. “If you look at these folks who are either coming into college or coming out of college, the thing that is most important to them at that point will be whether or not there’s a job, where they can live and kind of start their lives. So there is going to have to be businesses to employ these folks and two schools. Schools that work.” Doug elaborates, “If you have not figured out the school problem we will lose all of our promise and that is something that is absolutely critical to understand. Our relationship between our young Philadelphia and our schools will allow people to stay here longer and strengthen our tax base.”
Whether you were born here or moved here, DO2015 is designed to give everyone a voice and sound off on their concerns. Whether it be jobs, crime, schools, or anything in-between the open dialogue is essentially the backbone of the committee and what’s been missing in Philadelphia politics. There is no doubt that there is a disconnect between voters and politicians. Whether it’s the lack of interest or lack of communication, Doug Oliver is currently set on bridging the gap between city hall and the homes of the over 800,000 registered voters that neglected to show up at the polls in last mayoral election. “I would say a certain percentage of them in fact don’t care but I think there’s a much much greater number of people who aren’t engaged because they haven’t been asked to be engaged and they haven been shown how to be engaged. It’s what we seek to do through social media, through traditional process as well. Re-invite people back to the engagement table and say, ‘Hey here’s your seat, welcome.’ That’s the type of thing social media is ideal for.”
Aside from his non-traditional approach to politics, Doug Oliver is also non-traditional in aligning himself with one political party to tackle issues. In a system of staunch politicians who are hell bent on not giving up ground, Doug explains that he looks to introduce policies that work for everyone no matter what side of the aisle they sit. As a great communicator, Doug grasps the importance of speech but he also understands the value of listening. Whether the concerns are coming from one of the 850,000 registered democrats or one of the registered 150,000 republicans in the city, Doug looks to work for any and all, because in his eyes there really isn’t much of difference when it comes to making a positive impact in Philadelphia. “Even strong communications principles say if you want to persuade somebody to do something you have to see things from their perspective. Rather than force people to get over democrat or republican, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you’re a democrat, or republican, or independent, or anything else. We’re going to come up with policies that work for everyone because it’s Philadelphia first.”
For More Information About DO2015 Visit: