I launched my New Bedford School Committee campaign just over one month ago, deciding to make my candidacy known early so I could start getting my name out there, spread the workload across more weeks, begin fundraising, and–truth be told–make it impossible to change my mind about doing this. The final reason has definitely proven a good one: with an ever-short summer upon us, I’ve found myself having second thoughts more than once, including tonight, as I penned thank-you notes to campaign donors on the car ride to Maine (my husband and I are celebrating my birthday kid-free, thanks to my fabulous parents!). But those very thank you notes remind me that I’m not going it alone: a few dozen friends, family, and neighbors joined me to kick off the campaign last week, and nearly every person–even some who I just met that night–signed up to volunteer. Many signed up to plant a sign in their lawn, and even more made a financial contribution to the campaign. To say their enthusiasm and support was appreciated is an understatement. And since many of them are readers of this blog, thank you!
Another highlight of my last two weeks as a candidate was taking to the streets and beginning to introduce myself to strangers. This was much less daunting than I had imagined it would be, though perhaps I have my mascot–my one-year-old, Nick, whose favorite thing is waving and saying “hi” to people. Buoyed by the success of the kickoff, Nick, my husband Jeremy, and I donned our buttons and walked along the route of the Cape Verdean Recognition Day Parade about an hour before it started to gather signatures for my nomination papers. We collected over 30 signatures before the parade arrived, and one conversation resulted in another future home of a lawn sign. We even met a distant cousin of mine. Who knew?
So what’s on my ever-growing to-do list, and therefore what are tasks I’m making myself publicly accountable for completing in the next few weeks? First, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my platform points to publish on this website and begin sharing on Facebook. The only challenge here is that I keep wanting to add more to the list, because there are so many issues within education that get me fired up. Next, I’ll be condensing those points and my qualifications to fit onto a printed handout I can use when I start door-knocking, which I’d like to start doing in my neighborhood in the near future. The business cards have certainly been handy (I gave out a lot during the parade), but now that I have some money in the bank, it would be great to develop something more detailed. Third, I’ll be working with some voter data gurus/campaign supporters to get access to the list of active voters from which I’ll develop my list of doors on which to knock. And all of this is in addition to continuing to have one-on-one conversations and thinking about how to make use of the many skilled folks who have committed to volunteering. Whew! I suppose the key to a successful campaign while getting the most out of summer means figuring out what I can do from the beach, the kayak, the deck, or the car rides home from vacation destinations. 🙂
This week’s stats (for weeks 3 + 4)
Time spent: ~12 hours (organized/hosted kickoff, drafted/circulated platform, email correspondence, thank-you note writing, financial reconciliation)
Amount spent: $0 (I’m not counting what I spent for the kickoff, since it was just for friends/family)
Amount raised: $1,175! Even though my treasurer did no soliciting, many people made contributions at the kickoff. More than expected, and much appreciated!
Events attended: 2 (kickoff and Cape Verdean Parade)
New people I’ve met: At least 4-6