Life in a Presidential Campaign

Editor’s note: Thanks to past state New Hampshire State Grange Jim Tetreault for submitting this post about his experiences volunteering with a presidential campaign.

How does someone get involved in a Presidential Campaign? First it takes a passion for an individual candidate and an interest in politics. It takes a thick skin not to be offended by what your family and friends may think of that the candidate of your choice. For instance one of my favorite cousins who I am very close to thinks that my candidate is the absolute scum of the earth so I see a steady flow of attacks on face book! I don’t comment I just let him exercise his first amendment rights to free speech.

In my case the interest in politics started in the Grange, even as a youth member I was always fascinated by the Legislative Report, as I look back on it now I thought wow “old people” give those reports but in hindsight I now realize that they were people the same age as I am now! Year latter when I became Legislative Director of the New Hampshire State Grange, and having the opportunity to be mentored by Brother Leroy Watson, I figured out I was a “darn good Lobbyist” and wanted to move beyond the Lobbying world and more into the political side of the spectrum. My political life actually started by becoming a local elected official I have served as the Town Clerk and the Tax Collector for the Town of Winchester since March of 2007, I have a job that I have strived to become good at and my goal is always to make my portion of the Government work and be effective for the Tax Payers. The Political Advocacy portion of my life began as a “bribe” now the reader looks at this and thinks an elected official took a bribe? OMG! The “bribe” was actually a dinner ticker biggest fundraising dinner the State Democratic Party runs at $100 per person. At this event is when the local Democratic Committee hit me up to be their Treasurer, being the person that usually doesn’t say no to anything I took this on and it’s given me an opportunity to see Democratic Politics from the inside.

You wonder how this all relates to the Presidential campaign? Well when the Clinton Campaign was looking to set up a regional campaign Committee, they went to one of my good friends JoAnn Fenton and asked her who should be on the Committee? JoAnn listed a grouping of people and I was one of the people included! So here I site on the Monadnock Region Campaign Committee for Hillary Clinton, a candidate that I supported in 2008 and proud to support today. So what does a member of this type of committee do? Well a lot of grunt work! Canvassing homes, phone banking – you know those annoying calls you get while you’re watching “Jeopardy or the Big Bang Theory” while you’re feeling annoyed remember these are dedicated volunteers who take time out of their personal lives to work for a candidate they really believe in! So please don’t be rude to them, thank them for the call but let them know you’re not interested.

 

There are times when I am not home and people are in my house launching canvasses, having meetings, we also feedback information to the campaign from the field. Do they listen to us? Probably not! For the field operation it’s an opportunity for volunteers to feel they have someone “connected” to offer suggestions or complaints back to the campaign. We also do some serious things for campaign beyond the grunt work. We also work to accomplish campaign goals and we work as parts of the local brain trusts that helps map out the strategies to meet these goals. The Clinton Campaign is taking advantage of the expertise and knowledge of local activist who have strong roots and connections within each of those communities. On a personal note I have had the opportunity to connect with so many new people. People right in my own neighborhood, that I have waived to as they have driven or walked passed my house. I have also had the opportunity to mentor some young activist who I see great promise in for the future. Ask me and I will tell you about the two exceptional young men from Cheshire County are going be either a US Senator and member of the US House of Representatives from New Hampshire in the next ten years.

So the downside of being involved in a campaign to this extent, you’re always finding left over literature on the counters, Hillary stickers on every suit jack and coat and on the bottom of every pair of shoes. The glove box of the car is full of Hillary brochures, stickers and commit cards.

So when you are home on a Sunday afternoon watching the football game or on a Monday night watching Jeopardy think of me and my associates out in the cold knocking on doors and working the phones, working really hard to get the candidate elected we believe in. If any of this sounds interesting join us for the NH Primary Fly-In on February 5-7 in Manchester NH.

 

 

 

 

January Director Update

Greetings state directors – I hope you enjoyed the holiday season.

The new year brings a chance to focus on new goals/missions for each of our youth departments. I know many of you will be hosting reorganizational meetings with your youth committees and/or state leadership.

The new year also can bring a change in department leadership. If you are turning your state department over to a new director, please forward this email to the new director. Also send me their contact information so I can update my department listing for 2016.

The new handbook is available at http://nationalgrangeyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Youth-2016-Program-Book.pdf. Please distribute to your youth committee, subordinate/Pomona youth directors and other leaders.

The National Department has a focus on legislative/citizenship/get out the vote. The 2016 presidential election generates plenty of excitement among younger voters. This excitement can be utilized to develop workshops to teach youth how to register to vote or why its important to vote (Apathy Not Allowed program), learn how to visit with elected officials or speak on behalf of their local Grange at school board/town council/township supervisor meetings.

At the 2015 National Session, we did release a new “recipe book” of ideas for youth activities. I have attached the booklet here for you. There are plenty of ideas from other Grangers that could provide some inspiration for your local departments.

Social media: We have a Grange Youth Department Facebook page, twitter account and youth department blog located at: http://www.grange.org/youth/. The blog is where I post department news and updates. Also, if your department has something you would like to share, I can post it on the blog as well. Ideas would include news from state camps, contests, lock-ins, family weekends and other state department updates.

Regional conferences for 2016. The states are still working out the details, but as of now, here are the dates I have for conferences.

Eastern: New Jersey April 8-10

Great Plains: Oklahoma June 17-19

Midwestern: Wisconsin June 24-26

Northeast: New York, July 8-10

Southeastern: Virginia July 29-31

Western: Oregon August 5-7

Thanks so much for your work, dedication in 2015 and best of luck with a successful 2016.