This past weekend, the Commonwealth was buzzing with activity as grassroots volunteers came together to support Democratic candidates. From North Adams to Orleans, we were out knocking on doors and connecting with thousands of voters–or, as we know them, our friends and neighbors. In total there were 70 events across the Commonwealth! With such a strong showing of grassroots support, it’s never been a better time to get involved.
Our events are organized and attended by a group of passionate, dedicated people, who welcome newcomers and appreciate all the help they can get. One of those passionate people was Congresswomen Niki Tsongas, below is her story.
Beginning with Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 campaign for President, I’ve participated in many campaigns where I’ve gone door-to-door meeting voters, hearing about the issues that are important to them, and asking for their support. In 1972, I went door-to-door in Lowell to support my husband Paul’s first campaign for City Council and many of his campaigns thereafter.
And, of course, I traveled all over New Hampshire in 1992 when Paul was running for President as well.
My first campaign for Congress in 2007 reinforced in me the value of personal, one-on-one interaction with voters at their doorsteps. It’s why going door-to-door to meet with voters, hear their views, and ask for their vote has always played a big role in my campaigns. As a candidate, I think it’s important to get out there and earn it – block-by-block, household-by-household.
This past weekend, I traveled to Fitchburg and Gardner to go door-to-door, meeting voters in the new Third Congressional District that I am seeking to represent. I was encouraged that so many volunteers joined the effort and their enthusiasm to work on a hot Saturday in July shows just how energized Democrats are to win in 2012. They know exactly what’s at stake in this election.
I’ve found that, regardless of whether a voter agrees with you or not, there is tremendous value in meeting people on their terms and engaging on the issues that matter to them. Whether I’m canvassing as a volunteer or as a candidate, I’m always encouraged by the civility of the dialogue and the genuine desire to understand both sides of an issue. Door-to-door canvassing, by its nature, encourages this kind of interaction. It’s something we could use a lot more of in our polarized political climate and I know that no matter what, I always learn from those I am meeting
In Fitchburg, I spoke with a voter who was a realtor in the area. She told me how she was working hard to help people buy and sell homes in this difficult housing market. She said she appreciated my work in Congress to help get people back to work and cut the deficit.
I also met a voter in Gardner that has genuine concerns about what’s happening in Washington D.C. and admitted she didn’t agree with me on every issue. Yet, she pledged her support in the November election and appreciated the time we spent talking about some of the bigger policy debates of the last two years on her lovely front porch.
Ensuring that I am accessible to constituents has been a hallmark of my Congressional office. The most effective way for me to be accessible to the people I represent is to make myself available to them in their neighborhoods and meet people where they live. Whether that’s through my Congress on Your Corner program, or getting out there and going door-to-door myself, these interactions help inform my work in Washington D.C. What I’m hearing when I meet voters at their doors this summer is the importance of keeping our economic recovery on-track, creating good jobs, and making government work for us again.
I never hesitate to tell voters where I stand on the issues and why. Those that have joined me to canvass are equally firm in their beliefs about what’s at stake and why they’re out there working hard on a hot summer weekend. This election matters. And the effort we put in now will pay dividends in November.
I encourage you to find an opportunity to canvass your community and get out there and share your stories with your neighbors. If you live in the new Third District I encourage you to contact my campaign for ways to get involved. No matter where you live, get involved. Door-to-door canvassing is an incredibly valuable tool to promote the issues and candidates you support. It’s also a great way to meet other committed activists and your neighbors. Just don’t forget sunscreen and water!
I look forward to seeing you out on the trail at an upcoming door-to-door canvassing event near you. If you’d like to find out if I’ll be in your neighborhood, or if you’d like to join me this summer, please check out my website, www.nikitsongas.com, Like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.
Each week, the Massachusetts Democratic Party posts a story from the previous weekend’s events. If you attended an event and have a story to share, contact MassDems at at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include pictures if you have them!