Sat 29 Apr 2006
This just in from the Warren County Dems:
Paul Hackett joined an enthusiastic crowd of more than 50 volunteers at the Warren County Democratic party headquarters in Lebanon. After teams and precincts had been assigned, Paul addressed the crowd. He spoke of the importance of this grassroots effort to reach out to our fellow Democrats. And he challenged us to continue to strengthen our Party by building and organizing at the local and county level. And then we hit the streets! See attached pictures. Today was a huge success. Targeted precincts were canvassed, hundreds of Dems were touched personally for the first time in years. And dozens of those signed up to volunteer efforts for the coming Election season. Watch us grow in Southwest Ohio!
We had the fifty or so volunteers show up this morning at 8:30 and found that at least 70% had canvassing experience. Besides Paul and Suzi, 2nd District congressional candidates Jim Parker, Gabby Downey and Thor Jacobs showed up and not only wished us well, but contributed volunteers and joined in the canvass effort. 3rd District candidates Studebaker and Fierst also showed up and Fierst stayed and canvassed to the bitter end. State Central Committee candidates Steve Spraley and Maria Ferro canvassed and special thanks to Maria’s son Matt for taking the pictures.
We targeted 11 Precincts with high Democrat active voter counts that do not have a Precinct Captain. In those 11 precincts we have nearly 2000 Democrats. Teams of four were given their target precinct, walking lists, maps, a script and the DNC provided door hangar. Volunteers got additional literature appropriate to their State legislative district and were free to carry and distribute other candidates literature as well.
But this was not about a lit drop. My report from my targeted precinct:
Precinct # 5 in Franklin… 128 active Democrats in a middle class neighborhood. Small neat single family, duplex homes and apartment buildings in the central part of the city of Franklin. We arrived at a little after 10:00 and began knocking on doors. Found about 50% of the folks at home. We introduced ourselves by name and as Democrats who lived in Warren County. Our reason for calling on them was simple. This was an effort to reach out to our neighbors in a personal way, to ask them what they wanted the Democratic Party in Warren County, in Ohio, and nationally to address. We were not there to tell them what the Democratic Party had determined was good for them. We were there so the Democratic Party could find out.
You can imagine what we heard: Jobs, energy, gas prices, the war in Iraq, corruption. Education and how its funded, the environment. Jobs, living wages, immigration. Jobs. Healthcare. Jobs. At one house we were told that the person we were talking with had a brother who died fighting in Iraq. Guess what was her most important issue. We promised to take their messages back to Lebanon, to our local Party and candidates. We also promised to carry their messages to the state Party and candidates and to the national Democratic Party. We asked that they find a way to help us. Volunteer to take responsibility for communicating with the other Dems on their street through a phone tree. Or post a yard sign for a candidate or issue. Help us to canvass other neighborhoods. We got a very good response. Nearly 50 % of those asked responded with a commitment to help.
Four hours later, we had completed our canvass and headed back to the HQ in Lebanon. There we found other teams had reported similar results. We grabbed some lunch and “hotwashed” the mission as Major Hackett would say. Final tabulations are not in, but we know we have dozens of new volunteers; hundreds of Democrats that had not seen or heard from the Warren County Party in years, now had had a visit. We’ll follow up with calls, e-mails, post cards and more visits.
Chris, you know I firmly believe this is how we make our Party strong and responsive and relevant. Sure, today it was preaching to the choir. But we got stronger, better at doing the grunt work. Better at meeting and listening to our neighbors. As we grow our numbers, we will more quickly finish our missionary work among the already saved. Then we can reach out to our non aligned neighbors. Same strategy: “What’s important to you? What should a political party do to make your world better? If we decide to do those things, will you help us?”
It’s not a quick or easy fix. I am tired, exhausted. We all are. But it is satisfying work. We’re getting stronger. It’s worth every step.
That’s what it’s all about.