Election season can be “ruff.”
There are the debates, the attack advertisements and the pretending to be someone you are not.
You know, like squirrels or no squirrels? Cat or dog?
These are the issues Wichita’s canine candidates are facing, but they are not afraid to get their paws dirty.
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The candidates – Penny, Snooper and Remy – are raising awareness for Wichita’s human election on Nov. 7 through their campaigns to be Wichita’s dog of choice.
The campaigns include election videos, attack ads and a live debate with dogs at the podium. Each candidate even has his or her own Facebook page.
“It’s a bit ridiculous, but it’s fun and that’s the whole point of it,” said Sara Dixon, one of the humans behind the Joy of Voting project.
The grant-funded project stems from Citizen University’s national campaign to make voting something that people look forward to.
“Voting used to be something people did for entertainment, with a group of people. It was a social thing that we lost,” said Stephanie Huff, the other human behind Canine Candidates. “This is a grassroots way to make elections joyful again and to make you happy – not angry – to vote.”
For Dixon and Huff, voting is not just a duty, but something that brings them joy. They want others to feel the same way.
“Voting is a duty we feel compelled to do, but why can’t that feeling come from happiness and joyfulness?” Dixon said. “Stephanie and I were talking about ideas, and we know dogs make people happy. If you don’t love dogs, you know someone who loves dogs, so we came up with the idea to run a mock election that would be fun and get people interested.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
The Canine Candidates
Penny was left in a box as a puppy, so she knows what it is like to come from nothing. Now, she plans to ensure all dogs have equal access to necessary comforts including a warm bed and dry kibble.
She is committed to keeping Wichita’s streets safe from squirrels, raccoons and sometimes even cats.
Read more about Penny at https://caninecandidates.org/meet-the-candidates/penny/.
A vote for Snooper is a vote to make fetch happen.
Snooper is a rescue who had a rough start, but he is resilient and steady – just what Wichita needs. He demands more dog parks, believes squirrels can be reasoned with and simply will not allow another dog sniffing around his yard.
Read more about Snooper at https://caninecandidates.org/meet-the-candidates/snooper-2/.
It’s no secret, Remy is not your typical dog. Or cat. And he is a big fan of Snapchat filters. Shhh.
Remy plans to do something about dogs, not cats. He believes dogs belong inside homes, not roaming the streets – because it is what they deserve. Or, all dogs could move to the country.
Read more about Remy at https://caninecandidates.org/meet-the-candidates/remy-2/.
Meet the candidates
Both Penny and Snooper will be making appearances at McAdam’s Neighborhood Freedom Fair on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the 10th Street Bridge in McAdams neighborhood. The event, which is also grant funded and through Citizen University, starts at 4 p.m., but the canines should arrive about 5 p.m.
“It’s a great time to meet the candidates and shake paws,” Huff said.
Remy will not be present.
“Remy is a shut in and hard to get public appearances,” Huff said.
All three candidates will be participating in an online dog debate during the weekend of Nov. 3-5. The time and date have not yet been confirmed.
Dixon and Huff plan to have a survey-style election for the Canine Candidates, but that has not yet been set up. Details will be released at https://caninecandidates.org/.
But the purpose of Canine Candidates is not for Wichita’s four-legged friends.
“We want this to draw people back to the human elections,” Huff said. “Yes, it’s fun to have canine candidates, but the whole point is to remind people there is an actual election going on and we’d like people to go and vote in it.”
Canine Candidates are not endorsing any particular candidate or issue. They just hope to get people informed and voting.
“The whole point is to get involved and go vote,” Dixon said. “Yes, vote for the canines, but once you do that go vote for humans because that’s where the action happens. Dog office isn’t real.”
Canine Candidates have provided information on Wichita’s election at https://caninecandidates.org/human-election/.