July 18, 2013
Tonight was the opening of the Cory Booker for Senate Monmouth County Campaign Office! It was to be a celebratory event. We were invited to bring goodies. I baked cookies. (They were pretty good, if I must say so myself) Beyond that, I wasn't too sure what to expect.
The new office is located in Hazlet, NJ. Hazlet is a town I know well since this is where I grew up. (Although, it occurred to me on this evening, that I have actually lived longer in my current home than I did in my childhood home at this point! ) I wasn't sure what traffic would be like so I left plenty of time to get there. It was also horribly hot so I knew I wasn't going to want to be rushing anywhere.
I was greeted at the door with a request to sign up by one of the young men I had already met at one of the earlier volunteer events. I guess he is now working for the campaign. It appears several of the volunteers have parlayed the volunteer experience into a job! Good for them. (I just wish some one would remember me! lol)
There were a few familiar faces there which was nice. Of course "MY" volunteer coordinator was there. Karly is great. She has been my contact from day one and I really think she is a great girl. She is smart, ambitious but more importantly, she is kind, friendly and appreciative. I have a theory that when you are working with volunteers, people who a freely and generously giving their time to you, you should first and foremost be appreciative. Karly is. She also remembers me. :)
We chatted and snacked. The room was full of folks of all ages and stages which is great. The young kids right out of high school and college, sitting along side the retirees and every one in between. After some socializing, the former head of the Monmouth County Democrats introduced himself. Vic Scudiery gave an impassioned speech about Cory Booker and why he feels Booker is far and above better for Monmouth County than the other candidates. (Although, he might have a hard time convincing my mother of this. Frank Pallone has allegedly bought a quilt from her quilting circle every year! Frank Pallone was supporting the quilting industry in Monmouth County. I wonder if Mayor Booker needs a quilt?) Anyway, Mr. Scudiery is a bit of legend and he certianly is inspiring. It is always great to listen to someone who is passionate even if he is preaching to the choir! Obviously he was in a room full of folks who loved Cory Booker. You'd have to love some one to volunteer on an evening this hot.
All the volunteers then went around the room and introduced ourselves and why we were volunteering. Again, so interesting to hear everyone's stories. People came from all corners of Monmouth County. Once this was done, we were asked to sign up for volunteer shifts. (Remember, I had already spent a few days out there pounding the pavement, but some of these folks are brand news) I was able to sign up for a couple shifts. We were then asked to help by making phone calls. With that, most of the volunteers cleared out. I think about 10 of us stayed...slowly but surely most of the ten started packing it in too until I was the last lone volunteer! (But you see, I am nothing if not determined. We were given a task to complete, and damn it, I was going to complete it. I called every name on my 6 page list) And my efforts were rewarded with a yard sign...one of the first in Monmouth County! YAY!
Then one of the Booker employees gave me the "hard sell". I hate the hard sell. This was my first really "negative" experience in all of this. I tried to wiggle out of it by saying "Karly knows where to find me. If I can I will always help" But this out of towner insisted I sign up for more time. I don't know why but this turns me off. In a big way. If I tell you I can't commit right now, respect that. I think I have demonstrated my level of commitment by showing up for every weekend event I was told about and spending hours in the hot sun every weekend. I think I can be trusted to give what I am able. I know Karly gets this. She tried to interject with an "I know Anne, she's good" but he wouldn't hear of it. So in a week that is going to be very stressful for me, I was strong armed into signing up for more shifts. (I already had to cancel one of these shifts, which makes me feel bad) I don't like the pressure. I don't like having to cancel. This was the first turn-off in this entire experience. And the fellow, while his intentions were good, just left me feeling bad. I had met him at least 2-3 other times. I had conversations with him. He seemed to have absolutely no recognition of this or me. Maybe it's me, maybe I just very....forgetable.
I hope in the future I can continue to work with Karly. I am really energized and enthused by her methods and administration. I completely support Cory Booker! Karly knows I will give what I can and when I am there, I am there 100% to work. (I am pretty sure some of the people who show up are just there in hopes of a photo op with Cory Booker or a yard sign...which is fine...people support in any way they can)
Since the meeting was in my home town, I decided to stop and surprise my parents with a visit at 9:00pm that night! They are happy the volunteer office is in Hazlet if it means I will be stopping by. :) When I finally got home, I had to proudly display my new yard sign and moved one of my lights to shine brightly upon it!