I’m entering into my fourth week with SNAP PAC and Brendan Kelly’s congressional campaign in Illinois’ 12th district. As I’m starting to get an idea of what the rhythm of a congressional campaign looks like, I am getting more and more comfortable with the daily activities of volunteer recruitment. I have been been through a pretty vigorous training with my field director, which has really helped me get acquainted with the duties of organizing. I have spent hours training on the Votebuilder software (or VAN), and I have also spent a good amount of time on volunteer recruitment training and how to give a field pitch at events. Now that I’m pretty well settled into my fellowship with the campaign, I am attending events not only with the staff, but on my own as well. A few weeks ago, the #KellyCoalition (as we like to call ourselves) took a day trip to Chicago for a campaign fundraiser and for a field training with esteemed political consultant and commentator, Paul Begala. It was fascinating to learn from someone who had so much experience in the field and in so many different arenas. As well as attending field trainings, I am enjoying attending campaign events such as the house party the campaign put on June 5th. I spent a lot of time recruiting volunteers to attend the event, so it was satisfying to see the event come out a success and to see my work pay off. I also attended the Southwest Illinois Democratic Women’s monthly meeting, which this month happened to be a county candidate’s meet and greet, so that was a great place to meet all of our Democratic candidates as well as rally Democratic supporters for our upcoming Day of Action. All in all, I have been truly getting a great field-organizing experience with the Brendan Kelly campaign and I am excited to keep the momentum moving forward, and I will be forever grateful for SNAP PAC for giving me the opportunity to work for this campaign.
I have learned so much and had so many new experiences since I started working on my first campaign these past two weeks. I’ve learned so much that it’s difficult to decide where to start. Between all the phone banking, canvassing door-to-door and hunting for voter registrations all of the insightful conversations I have had begin to blur together. I have sat down with people who are passionate about protecting healthcare, education, social security and the environment. Going into a new area where I am not familiar with the particular issues and sitting down with potential democratic voters has given me a lot of new insight into the problems facing America as a whole. One conversation that I had this week with a voter has stuck out to me. I spoke with Rudy on the phone and asked him if he was interested in sitting down with me and talking to me about the issues that face the area. He invited me into his home and after speaking with him for over an hour I learned so much about his life. From his travel to this country as an immigrant and the hardships that accompanied that, as well as his appreciation for the United States and our healthcare system and environment. He raved about how the only way he lived this long was because he came to America and how important it is to ensure that level of care is available to every American. Rudy was a small business owner who operated a local bakery before retiring to his home in Florida. It’s people just like Rudy that have always made this country the best it could be. I feel very grateful to be working on a campaign that is advocating on behalf of people just like Rudy, by fighting for commonsense immigration policies, affordable healthcare and the environment.