6:00 a.m. Alexa lets me know that it’s officially time to get up. I say officially because like most mornings I was laying there thinking about my day. Unlike most of the days over the last six weeks, this day was different. Why? It was raining. And it was cold. Truth be told I had been hoping for rain. First for our farmers. We needed rain badly. Second, because I thought going out there in less than ideal conditions would let people see I am not a “fair weather candidate.” But doubt crept in. No, it bulldozed its way in.
As I lay there comments like “too stupid to get in out of the rain,” “campaign stunt,” or “look at this idiot”, carried on a dialogue at the podium inside of my brain. I started, no maybe wanted, to believe it. It was a perfect sleep-in day. Then another thought seeped its way in. “Trust your instincts, you’ve been praying for this. Get your behind out of bed and get out there.”
So, at zero dark thirty, in this case 6:50 a.m., I was there...on the southside of Whitehall East as it flows into 522. From the very first cars that came by, I knew I had made the right decision. The response was overwhelming. On this rainy day compared to the others, there were more “beeps” and energetic waves (not just the pick your index finger up from the steering wheel Goochland wave), and more people rolling down their windows to encourage me, cheering me on, and seemingly seeing it as I hoped they would. May people stopped and said things like, ”...man, if you’re willing to work this hard and be out here in this, you have my vote.”
Now truth be told there were the “this guy ain’t right” head shakes but those were few and far between. The response was so encouraging that I stood there greeting people, getting my name out there, for an hour longer than every other morning. When I made it into the office, my boss (a.k.a. my wife) said, “you were out there a long time today.” I replied, “yea, traffic kept up, I think the rain had a lot of folks sleeping in.” Today was a victory.
I have learned over the last eight months of campaigning that I measure things in small increments. Maybe it’s not the best way but it’s what I do. So that morning things were really good. Per my typical norm I needed to break it down to why? Why did I get such a positive response? I wish I was the type of person that could just accept it, but God didn’t wire me that way.
Here’s where I landed: While people were maybe impressed with the fact that I would leave a ridiculously comfortable bed and put myself in a ridiculously uncomfortable position that morning, I choose to believe that’s what people want in those that represent them in government. They want someone who is willing to be uncomfortable as an advocate for them. They are holding out hope for someone that would make their needs paramount in their effort and not use it as a stepping-stone for political advancement. I feel like that’s what we all want and haven’t received in a long, long time. I think many saw hope in my discomfort.
I started standing at street corners around Goochland with my sign because people didn’t know who I was. While I’ve lived here for 17 years and served the community, I’m not a “showy” person and people didn’t know who I am. So, I decided to meet people where they are, or at least where they were going to be. I call it…”Intersecting.” Ya know ‘cause I stand at intersections. Yes? No? But that afternoon I had another thought, “What if that’s all they see me doing? Some guy who stands at an intersection with a sign?” I joke that sometimes I feel like a panhandler with a nicer sign. Here’s what I would want those thinking along similar lines to know. I started preparing to represent D2 and Goochland County long before this:
· I spent over 100 hours getting certified in zoning to understand zoning ordinances and the role of local government
· I have spent over 200 hours in county public meetings, including Board of Supervisors, Planning, EDA, Monacan Soil and Water, Public Hearings, School Board, Town Halls, and others.
· I have knocked on over 600 doors (and still going)
· We’ve made over 1500 phone calls trying to get our message out
· I’ve bought and eaten more Brunswick stew that is recommended by a physician
· I’ve met with a significant number of county staff to learn how the government works in tandem with the Board of Supervisors
· I vice-chair the BZA
· I have worked with many non-profits both serving directly and doing pro-bono advertising work
This is not a joke to me. I’ve been campaigning not just to win…but more importantly to serve effectively and do the job I was elected to do. I will admit that I have joked that if I don’t have the opportunity to represent D2 I will be the most educated citizen in local government in the county!
It’s just a week-and-a-half to the election. I need your support. I need your vote on November 5th! Thanks for taking the time to read this, it means a lot. Remember…”Spoon 4 Supe” on November 5th.