So who is Frank Hyman?
"My father grew up on a tobacco farm and like his six brothers, only had an 8th grade education. He met my mother at Parris Island, SC where they were both sergeants in the Marine Corps (I think of my mother as an early, right-wing feminist). The first three years of my life we lived in a trailer park outside Beaufort, SC. My mother likes to tell the story of returning from an evacuation after a hurricane, and how my father rounded up his platoon and led them in standing everyone's trailer back upright.
lot of the people I grew up with still live in trailer parks or
otherwise work hard for little money. When I'm engaged in a political
campaign, I'm thinking about whether they and folks like them will be
the ones to benefit from my work.
"I joined a campaign to unseat Senator Strom Thurmond in SC in 1978 when I was 18. We did not defeat him, but I did outlive him, so that is something. Since then I've played a wide range of political roles--elected official, campaign manager, community organizer, neighborhood activist, campaign consultant, fundraiser, grant writer, journalist and essayist. My leadership in successful campaigns that beat the odds, has been very satisfying and I like sharing what I've learned. Shoot me an email describing your political challenge and I'll let you know if I think I can help you."
A sampling of Frank's political experience:
* Elected Durham City Council member 1993-97. Unseated a smart incumbent who wanted to burn our garbage and to enact regressive taxation. The pundits all said Frank's campaign was DOA, but Frank--who managed his own campaign--won by a 55%-45% landslide.
* Monthly political and environmental columnist for The Durham News, 2007-2012.
* Authored first Living Wage Ordinance (LWO) in the southeast in 1998. This was for the City of Durham, and was only the third LWO in the nation.
* Marketing chairman and de facto campaign manager for Durham's 1996 bond referendum for
affordable housing, inner city parks and alternative transportation. Talking
heads said this campaign was also DOA--previous referenda had failed or barely
survived with margins of 51%-49%. But this time the referendum passed by a 65%-35% landslide.
* Organized a budgetary triple play while on Durham City Council in 1995: 1) ended a bit of corporate welfare by halting free garbage pickup for businesses, 2) resulting in a doubling of cardboard recycling in a year's time and 3) freeing up about $1 million a year that was added to the city bus system.
Organized a unanimous vote by the city council in 1994. We asked the
General Assembly to end another case of corporate welfare, by allowing
the City of Durham to annex the Research Triangle Park. (It's surrounded
on three sides by the city which provides numerous services to RTP
employees, commuters and their families.) Annexing RTP would have
allowed the city to reduce it's tax rate by 15 cents, bringing it in
line with other Triangle cities.
Campaign manager for Brenda Howerton, 2008, the first time a
challenger won a Durham County Commission seat with only a single
endorsement; that from the Durham People's
Alliance. Previous challengers had only been able to win by earning
endorsements from two of the three influential political organizations
* Community Organizer for Durham CAN, 2002 (trained in Chicago by some of the same people that trained Barack Obama). Guided community leaders in pursuing successful Living Wage campaigns with Durham County, Durham Public Schools and Duke University. These successful campaigns raised wages and benefits for over a thousand entry-level and mid-level workers in Durham.
* Spurred the discussion and advised PA activists and business owners in 2015 on creating the Durham Living Wage Project which has certified scores of private businesses that pay a living wage to hundreds of workers.
* Elected member of Durham Soil and Water Conservation District 1990-93.
* Coordinating Committee member for Durham People's Alliance, 1992.
* Neighborhood Co-President for Burch Avenue neighborhood.
* Co-organizer of Durham's first municipal recycling conference in 1989.
* Canvasser for Carolina Action in Durham fall of 1984.
* Jesse Jackson delegate to SC Democratic convention in summer of 1984.
* Canvasser for Charles "Pug" Ravenel, Democratic
challenger to Senator Strom Thurmond, 1978.