Cory Booker For Senate Campaign 2014
Can I pick a winner or what? I am elated Cory Booker won the October election in New Jersey for a United States Senator! This was a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of long time NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg. Cory Booker WON! But not without some (ridiculous) controversy stirred up along the way by his opponent Lonegan. We learned Booker had something of flirtatious exchange with a stripper. (Who cares? really? Cory Booker tweets with everyone! That is what I love about him!) We learned that Lonegan doubts where Cory Booker lives and doubts one of Cory Booker's supporters exist. Again, I ask WHO CARES?
While we celebrate his victory, bear in mind, his term is only for one year. He will have to campaign again for the "regularly scheduled" Senatorial election next November. So stay tuned. I am sure that campaign effort will begin shortly.
VOTE AUGUST 13
(My First Journey Into Politics)
July 3, 2013 - I started off being intriqued so I followed Cory Booker on Twitter a couple years ago. I loved his tweets. I kept learning more and more about him. I learned more about his ideals and actions over the past few years. I grew to respect and admire him more and more. He inspires me. Among other things, Cory Booker inspired me to get involved.
I also saw a Broadway play this Spring. Ann on Broadway by Holland Taylor. Ann Richards was the Governor of Texas. She didn't begin her political career until after her children were grown and she had gone through a divorce. She was my age and went on to become a part of American history. Her message was to get involved. I felt as if she was speaking to me personally. Her message really resonated and stayed with me.
Tonight I will do something I have never done before. Tonight I will attend my first ever political campaign volunteer meeting. I am excited and nervous. I am nervous I won't be able to deliver as much as they require or expect of a volunteer. I am excited to be a part of getting Cory Booker elected Senator and making New Jersey an even better place.
I will chronicle my adventures in campaigning here. If you are a veteran at campaigning, I would love your insight. If you have never campaigned, I hope I might inspire you too!
July 4, 2013 - Yes my first day ever volunteering for a political campaign is the 4th of July. Pretty fitting. I woke this morning to find the following email from Cory Booker waiting in my inbox:
Today is our great nation's 237th birthday, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
I'll be spending the day talking to voters who are celebrating the holiday down the shore, and I hope you'll get a chance to celebrate with your family and your community as well.
But as you celebrate, keep in mind that we each drink from wells of freedom and opportunity we did not dig. We must give thanks not in words but in continuing America's tradition of service. Day by day, that's how we continue to strengthen our nation.
That can mean deciding to enlist in our Armed Forces or becoming a teacher or running for office. But it can also mean lending a hand to someone who needs your help. The biggest thing you can do today is likely a small act of kindness or generosity.
Thank you for joining me,
I hope my contribution as a volunteer counts as an act of kindess. I know I felt proud to serve the people of New Jersey today by doing my small part to make sure we have the best representation possible in Washington. Let me share with you how the day went....
The volunteer coordinator selected about 10 volunteers to go to a breakfast before we started our volunteer work on the boardwalk. I really didn't know what to expect. I imagined Cory Booker would be addressing an audience of supporters, and we (as volunteers) would be helping with greeting, handing out information, collecting information...but I was completely wrong. This breakfast was just for the volunteers!! Holy crap! I was sitting directly across from Cory Booker eating eggs!
Cory Booker spent the entire breakfast going around the table, getting to know each and every one of us and addressing issues that concern us. Obviously, I brought up gay rights, marriage equality, women's rights. I also brought up the NJ "Brain Drain" - smart kids leaving the state for out of state college. It turned out my daughter wasn't offered any Federal Financial aid in New Jersey. (which makes no sense because its Federal! ) I told Cory Booker that I already advised my son not to even bother applying to schools in New Jersey. He addressed all my topics/concerns with incredible insight and sensitivity - as he did with each volunteer there. (although he was never able to tell me how a student CAN be awarded Federal Financial aid in every college she applied to EXCEPT the two state colleges in her home state of New Jersey) One of the many great moments at our breakfast was when a young fella shyly shared with us that he will be turning 18 soon and his first vote will be for Cory Booker for U.S. Senate.
I learned that Cory Booker is well versed in Judiasm and studies all religions. He keeps a Bible, Torah and Quran on his desk. He spoke about how Judiasm encourages all to come to the table. He embraces all religions. I, of course, have always felt this way too.
I learned about a lot of really smart initiaves he brought to Newark, NJ as Mayor. He brought jobs and money to the city through very creative and innovative programs. He is a man who likes to find common ground with adversaries. (I don't want to try to explore and explain all of his great programs as I know I won't do them justice. Google him!) He also gets things done. He doesn't just talk the talk...he lives it, he breathes it every day.
As Booker went around the table, getting to know each volunteer, he moved effortlessly from topic to topic. He addressed each issue with information, statistics, background, data or a personal anecdote. He really listened to each and every one of us and made a point of enthusiastically responding. There is something so fundamentally rewarding about feeling you have been heard. (Having a representative who genuinely likes to listen to his constituents surely has be a good thing).
After breakfast we headed over to the Baordwalk to work the crowds. Cory Booker met up wtih Senator Bill Bradley and together they greeted people and posed for pictures. The crowd loves him! We, the volunteers, worked to get folks to sign up to volunteer! My best "get" was when I asked a women to sign up. She confessed to me that her daughter is an aide to Rush Holt. Rush Holt is running against Cory Booker. I signed her up anyway!! HA! I promised not to tell her daughter. :)
It is almost impossible not to feel extremely hopeful and energized after spending time with Cory Booker. I left feeling incredibly impressed. He is extremely bright and has an amazing gift of expressing himself with such eloquence, enthusiasm and clarity. He never talks down to anyone, but is able to express himself in a way that is understandable. It is really a gift. He is funny, charming and very down to earth. I witnessed him effortlessly speak in Hebrew with some of the volunteers and speak in Spanish to some folks on the Boardwalk. You can tell he genuinely and deeply loves people. All people.
That was basically my first day. Pretty awesome. I can't wait to get out again tomorrow!!!
PS - If you would like to volunteer, all are welcome! You can sign up at www.corybooker.com Join the fun with us and be a party of New Jersey history!!
July 5* - Day 3 of my life as a volunteer . I showed up for my volunteer duties today in the blazing 90+ degree heat ready to do whatever I could to secure Cory Booker's place in New Jersey's history. Mayor Booker had not arrived yet to Point Pleasant but we were armed with our clipboards, volunteer signup sheets and "Cory Booker for Senate" stickers. Our mission: Canvass the frontline (boardwalk) for new recruits (beachgoers) to join our volunteer army! I learned today that it is much more difficult to recruit volunteers when Cory Booker and Senator Bill Bradley aren't nearby shaking hands and posing for pictures. People aren't nearly as impressed with me and my clipboard. None the less, I forged onwards! I met a few Republicans who were not very friendly and they exercised no restraint when it came to proclaiming thier political proclivities. I continued to smile and thank them for their time. If nothing else, they would know Cory Booker's army was friendly and kind! I ran into a number of New Yorkers "just visitng" but mostly I ran into people who were not in the mood for politics. They just wanted to enjoy the beach and/or their ice cream. After a while of pounding the pavement, or boardwalk as it were, we all reported back to mission headquarters (a table at Jenkinson's)
Cory Booker's team announced to us that Cory Booker would be arriving momentarily and he would like to have lunch with the volunteers! Holy crap! Another meal with Cory Booker! (Now I just need dinner and I will have had the perfect dining trifecta! Stay tuned! Goals are good!) We sat down and shortly thereafter Cory Booker arrived. Again, like breakfast yesterday, he went around the table and asked each volunteer to share their name and he chatted about their interests, goals and his campaign. I was glad he met my daughter. Actually, he started to talk to her about films. He would need a lot more time to really tap my daughter's brain about films, she is an enormous wealth of information, but also shy. When we were riding home, she told me all the things she should have told him. BUT... what was REALLY cool, he asked her to take his cell number and send him some of her short films. THAT is pretty cool.
I hope over the course of this election she will have the opportunity to spend some time filming him. He loves the idea of using short films to foster interest and support. I love the idea of her doing something creative, unique and part of the election process. Let's keep our fingers crossed!!
After lunch and much great conversation again, we were sent back out into the field. I am not much of sales person, but it is fun to speak to people of all walks of life about Cory Booker.
I have to say, so far, this campaign volunteering gig is pretty awesome. If you would like to get involved visit www.corybooker.com!!
*This entry was modified from its original version.
July 13 - Earlier in the week I received an email from my wonderful volunteer coordinator Karly. (I am not sure that is her official title, but that is her job! :) This weekend they would need volunteers to go out door-to-door. I am not going to lie, this frightened me a little. It frightens me a little to even share why. I don't want to be defined by my limitations. I am not my limitations. However, physical activity is not my strong suit. I have a genetic condition that affects my bones. I have severe arthritis in every joint in my body. I also have lived for over 15 years with advanced osteoporosis. Additionally, I have herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, Fibromyalgia and a few other things going on. In the last 5 years, I have had 4 surgeries and 5 hospitalization. Two of the surgeries were hip replacements. I am incredibly proud that I have been able to get through all of this while taking care of my two children on my own. What I lack in physical strength, I make up for in resourcefulness and determination. Part of managing my conditions is pacing myself. I spent a good portion of yesterday just resting. Thank God I felt ok today. (somedays, just getting out of bed takes everything I have in me) Without harping on this too much, even though I felt relatively good today, I was still really afraid of disappointing the "Cory Booker Team". I didn't want to be cast aside. I really want to be able to be of value to this campaign in some way. I worried that today would be the day I would have to "confess" my limitations. (I really hate telling people about this. I am embarrassed by it.) Would they ask me to leave? Would they be angry that I had signed up at all? Or worse, would they just write me off and disregard me. Would I essentially become invisible and worthless? But...if I don't tell them, will they just think I am lazy and not committed? UGH!
When we arrived, Karly was going over the script for the volunteers and going over our assignment. Each "team" would be given a map and lists of names and addresses to visit. We had very clear specific instructions and we were expected to spend about 3 hours going door to door. OMG! 3 hours? There is no way. Ugh, I don't want to be the "troublemaker". Should I just try to do my best and leave it at that? I decided to privately confess to Karly. I explained I would do my best but I had "physical limitations".
Much to my delight, Karly didn't even blink. Not a moment of disappointment at all, she instantly said "don't worry about a thing, what ever you can do we appreciate it". WOW! I was so relieved and even more excited to contribute in any way I could.
Luckily, we were able to drive to some destinations and the walking and stair climbing was manageable in small doses. I went with my daughter (we make a good mother daughter team! She understands my limitations and takes it all in stride) We spent about 2 hours trying to visit as many homes on our list as we could while also taking breaks as we went along. Thankfully, the people we met were wonderful. Everyone was friendly and kind.
I left today thinking how glad I am that I signed up to do this. Although I can't contribute as much as some, my contribution is still valued. It is really rewarding to feel a part of the process, to participate in something I believe in. I believe in Cory Booker. I believe in our country. Even with all of its flaws, I believe in our government. I appreciate that I can be vocal and outspoken in my opinions (I have friends in other parts of the world where they do not enjoy these freedoms!) I am energized and enthusiastic about the opportunities Cory Booker can bring to New Jersey and our country. My only regret is that I never got involved like this before! Why did it take me until I was 51 years old to do this? (I suppose it took the inspiration of Cory Booker to light that fire under me!)
I also left today with enormous pride that I have my daughter at my side for this. I am so proud that I've able to share this with her. Hopefully we've ignited in her a lifelong passion for getting involved with politics (or anything she believes in). Obviously, volunteering has always been important to me and my family, I am glad Cory Booker inspired both of us to get involved with the political process.
Are you or have you been involved with politics?
Here is a little snippet of some of the volunteers meeting today. :) http://instagram.com/p/btnvJ-B2JQ/
Everyone I have met so far has been so wonderful. I have to say, people who volunteer, are really cool people. They are also very smart. It’s been great. I can not wait for our next meeting during the week.
(click on a photo below to open photo gallery )
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know in New Jersey a registered voter currently not affiliated with a political party may declare their party affiliation up to and including Primary Election day? It's true! http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-party-declaration-forms.html All you need to do is fill out the simple form and mail or deliver to the Commissioner of Registration in your county or you can also file it with your municipal clerk. Once you are registered with your preferred party, you can vote in the primary August 13th!
Photo Gallery: Cory Booker For Senate
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