This past Wednesday, I officially kicked off canvassing efforts for my campaign for state legislature. I had 1,500 copies of my campaign flyer shipped to my house and ready to go – nowhere near the number I need to reach every household in my district, but enough to get door-knocking up off the ground. My wife lent me a spare clipboard that she had lying around for teaching purposes, and I packed my messenger bag with sunscreen, extra pens, pretzels, and a canteen full of ice water. I wore my best walking shoes – a pair of Oboz from REI – and a face mask with exhalation vents that I’d purchased on Amazon. I was prepared as I was going to be.
It went well!
Since there are about the same number of Democratic voters in the 97267 zip code portion of my district as the number of flyers I had on hand, I decided to start there. In the first three days, I somehow didn’t encounter a single hostile voter – a miracle in my book – although there were a few people who were not interested in speaking with me at the time.
Most people weren’t home, which is understandable during the work week. But I was greeted by some kind folks who not only opened their doors to me, but also fully engaged in conversation with me about the issues that mattered to them:
- Gabriel, a recent high school graduate who expressed concern over traffic and road infrastructure;
- Will, a single parent who wanted more funding for public schools and teachers;
- Ann, a senior citizen who was very appreciative of that fact that a candidate for public office took the time to chat with her in person; and
- Krista, another young person who was glad that a true grassroots candidate was running to represent her interests, not those of big corporations.
Knowing that I might never have had the chance to meet these people outside of my campaign, getting to know them and their concerns about the “big issues” is an awesome experience that I didn’t fully anticipate.
But there was something else I hadn’t anticipated that was made clear to me this past week: Not one of these folks knew who their state representative – my opponent in this race – was. This begs the question: Has my opponent ever met with the Oregonians he supposedly represents in the legislature? What does it say about our current form of representative government, when an incumbent politician can feel good about his re-election chances with tens of thousands of people whose names and faces he’s probably never seen?
This helped me realize that my district is facing a concealed crisis – a lack of authentic, grassroots representation. And that adds another tangible layer of urgency in this race for our campaign to succeed.
Posted on 05 Sep 2020, 17:55 - Category: General