Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hogwash and Nerds

It's Sunday night and life is slowly going back to normal. No more 9:30 strategy meetings at headquarters, no more lit drops, no more phone calls (I'm sure everyone is happy about that).

LC1 pretty much summed up the experience of working on Gordon Hintz's campaign, but, I thought it was time to add my thoughts---especially since a union bud in Madison begged us to post (are you happy now Mitchell?).

I'm still amazed that we started campaigning with Gordon over two years ago, taking on what seemed like a Goliath candidate. A guy who had been in office for 17 years that everyone seemed to like (or so it seemed). I personally didn't think he was that awful (hey he wasn't John Gard, OK). He was a little out of touch with his constituents and an entrenched, wrong thinking, Republican. That is until the day he kicked us out of his office because we didn't agree with his view on TABOR and we didn't thank him for all the wonderful things he had done for state employees. Representing his constituents was his job for crying out loud, I sure don't get thanked everytime I do something at work. That was a declaration of war to the Labor Chicks!

Anyhow, two years ago, Gordon Hintz ran a campaign that spent way less than $50,000 and we were proud of the showing he made in that race against the entrenched encumbent (EE) and two other candidates (Green Party and Independent). He did well enough to show the "EE" that he may not be as secure as he wanted to be. We still wonder if that entered into EE's decision not to run (HMMMMM.....).

Well, two years later, money in this Assembly campaign was ridiculous! I never imagined that we would be involved in a race where the candidates spent at least a quarter of a million dollars----on an Assembly campaign. That of course includes all the input from WMC and "All Children Matter". I give Gordon credit for not accepting special interest money this time around. That's despite the special interest money flowing to help the Pung-Leschke campaign. What that means is that the money he raised to run against WMC and all the other nasty groups came from donations from many community members, along with supporters and friends from around the state and country. The chair of the Winnebago County Republicans, Michelle Litjens, had a problem with a fundraiser Gordon had in Milwaukee, complaining about "out of district money". Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black Michelle? "Your girl" (your words, not mine), Julie, had money coming from Michigan based groups. To you Michelle, I give you a big dose of your own HOGWASH!!!!

The other thing that was so inspiring was the number of community members who volunteered to help Gordon's campaign in one way or another. The folks coming for the lit drop the last weekend before the election was awesome! There were folks from all types of backgrounds and ages, kids and retired folks. You'd see folks all over the city that weekend dropping lit house to house, and it was Gordon's stuff! The only sign of the challenger's campaign that weekend was two guys in a red Toyota pickup. Hey, you gotta walk up to the houses, not just drop off the lit in newspaper boxes and behind mailbox flags. Didn't you see it all piled up, no one was looking at it.

One more thing that LC1 forgot to Stew Rieckman of the Northwestern...

You must have taken your happy pills before writing todays column, how things have changed since you called Gordon a nerd a few weeks ago. All I can say to that is, don't ever forget, in the movie "Revenge of the Nerds", the nerds won and so did we!

In the meantime, it was great to do whatever I wanted this weekend and not feel guilty about what I should be doing on the campaign (Craig, you brainwashed us). After January 3, I'm looking forward to walking into Gordon's office and putting my feet on his desk (just once). Oh ya, and being able to visit offices on lobby day that have Donkeys instead of stupid Elephants. My dream come true.

Almost Monday.... back to the real world.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Buh bye

Oh, and a big post-election buh bye to John Gard. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. We won't miss you.

Maybe Daddy can get you a job on the farm, since you are just a Lena farm boy. Bet you'll miss that extra $88 per day in per diems.


We're tired but happy

The Labor Chicks are really tired. After 2 1/2 years of helping Gordon Hintz with his campaign to be our representative for the 54th Assembly District in the legislature, we can proudly say we helped him win--with 62% of the vote! He won in every single ward in the city. The Labor Chicks had a lot of adventures in the 2 weeks they were off work to help with GOTV on his campaign.

We now know where all the network television stations in Green Bay are located after our trip up there a couple of weeks ago to bring ads to them (and write really big checks) to put on Green Bay network TV for Gordon. Keep in mind, not everyone has cable (the candidate and now Representative-elect does not have cable).

I have gained a new respect for pollworkers, as both the Labor Chicks had to wait around for vote totals at a ward on election night and report them to Madison. We were there until 10PM. The pollworkers were nowhere near ready to leave when we left. They were all grandpa and grandma age and we salute their dedication to keeping our democracy running. Let me just say, I will never vote absentee again after seeing the trouble it causes. My advice--go to your City Hall and vote early.

We also had the experience earlier on election night of being called to the UW Oshkosh campus voting ward to help with registration of new voters. Nearly 1800 people voted on campus. It was really inspiring to see all those new voters waiting in line to cast their first ever ballot.

I should charge Gordon's campaign for new shoes for all the literature I dropped at people's doors. I felt he might win when the Labor Chicks were making member-to-member phone calls to find out how AFL-CIO folks might vote and for the most part, union people from all different kinds of unions were saying they were voting for Gordon. I didn't want to jinx it by even thinking or saying he might win out loud, so I kind of kept it to myself.

At about a week out from election day, the opponent's treasurer called it quits on her campaign. It was after that happened, combined with the negative ads and literature being put out by special interest groups such as All Children Matter and WMC, that we heard reports of people removing their Julie Pung Leschke signs from their yards and some of them put up Gordon Hintz signs. My personal feeling is that WMC and all the special interest ads created a backlash effect and helped her demise as a candidate along.

Of course, she was no help to her campaign. (This is the "meow" portion of this post) Not to denigrate mothers, but perhaps she should have not concentrated so much on telling people she's a mom to four boys and actually done a little research into the issues. It never came up as an issue in the campaign per se, but she continually kept saying how much she loves the University in Oshkosh--yet she sent 3 of her 4 boys (one is still in high school) out of state to private universities. Apparently her love isn't that genuine.

Now, I'm sure she is a perfectly nice woman. She just shouldn't have been running as a candidate. Perhaps she should concentrate on community service work or her music.

The Labor Chicks made a lot of new friends while we were helping Gordon. We want to say "hi" to Craig, Glenn, Nathan, Ian, Erin, Marcia, Erika, Elias, Dan, Jef and everyone else who helped on his campaign. You guys helped keep me personally going. I love you guys! I'm sure we'll be seeing you all at Gordon's swearing in on January 3, 2007. I wouldn't miss it for the world. A special thanks to Craig, Glenn and Nathan for taking off of work from their jobs at the Capitol to come and help us here. We could not have won without you. Thanks for teaching us more about running a political campaign. The Labor Chicks attended Camp Wellstone, but learning and doing, as we all know, are two different things.

Well, soon it will be time for candidates to take out nomination papers for Oshkosh Common Council positions (like, December 1). I hope I am rested by then--because we start all over to help a friend get re-elected to City Council!

One more thing--thank you to Gordon, from the bottom of my heart for putting yourself out there and running to represent us. It's been a long campaign and we're all tired. I am sad that we're sending you away to Madison where we won't see you all that often, but happy that you will be representing our interests. We're glad to have become personal friends with you and we hope you won't forget us while you're there.