907.529.2391 | mary@barbergp.com

One Year Ago Today – We Made History

Happy Anniversary Alaskans!

After 30+ years in public relations, there have been many milestones in my career – serving as statewide volunteer coordinator for Oregon’s junior senator in his 1986 reelection bid, winning a Silver Anvil for work with the beef industry in 1991, securing my accreditation in 1995 and selection to the College of Fellows in 2003 to name a few.  However, none compare to the six weeks I spent last fall on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign.

Announcement RallyMany of my public relations colleagues from around the country thought we were crazy but we were a committed band of Alaskans who wanted to do what was right for our state.  Over the course of six weeks, between September 17 and November 2 we made history.

I took a break from my business to volunteer as a senior member of the communications team.  We were a steadfast band of seven communications professionals who kept the Senator’s messages in front of Alaskans, provided strategic messages to volunteers throughout Alaska and maintained an online and social media presence unlike any we have seen. We taught more thank 40 percent of Alaskans how to “fill it in – write it in” and spell: Lisa Murkowski.”

I blogged about the experience after it was over:

This Election Was Personal For Me

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Your Mother Would Be Ashamed You Said That

Message of the Day…Seems Simple but not always…

Freedom of What?

Throughout it all, the team was supported by thousands of Alaskans also committed to sending the Senator back to Washington. These people eagerly took our messages and passed them on to others.  They braved cold mornings to wave signs, distribute literature and monitor polls, making sure all Alaskans had the Information needed to write in Lisa’s name.

On election day, we called voters, and kept the social media and web campaign active. But we also did a lot of anxious waiting.  We knew we had done all we could and just wanted the polls to close.

Election NightBy the end of the evening we were celebrating the victory. The lawyers took over the next day and the election wasn’t certified for another seven weeks but we knew we had made history. As a public relations professional, I was extremely proud to accept a Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America on behalf of Alaskans for our effort. The Anvils are known as the Oscars of the PR field.

For me, the Anvil was significant. However, more important was the sense of accomplishment felt by Alaskans. At a pretty divisive time in our country, Alaskans gathered together to show what good can come from a collective desire to affect change.  It is a lesson to others who believe in a cause or person. Together you can make a different. So, just do it!

What a run! Happy First Anniversary Alaskans!

Together. We made history. Together.  We can do anything we want.


By |2018-03-18T22:51:19+00:00November 2nd, 2011|Leadership & Networking|2 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. Shonali November 3, 2011 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Happy Anniversary to you! Regardless of one’s political persuasion, your campaign was really remarkable. Kudos, Mary.

    • mdbarber November 3, 2011 at 8:25 am - Reply

      @Shonali Thanks Shonali. This is a real case of taking a village to accomplish our goal. What a project…with such great rewards.

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