Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 2
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 1|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 2|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 3|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 4|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 5|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 6|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 7|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 8|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 9|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 10|
|Vermont Campaign Journal - Day 11|
Today began bright and early. I slept well, though briefly. After going to bed around 4:30, it was time to rise and shine at 8:30. Hardy, trooper that he is, got up even earlier. I started to write up my daily update, but couldn't remember the login to this blog. I posted something in the forum instead. Hardy finished up the last remaining fact sheet, and we all got some cereal.
Media calls began early on this morning. Hardy got a call from the Associated Press, Vermont Public Radio, and WDEV radio. All said they couldn't make it to the press conference, but all wanted to talk to us beforehand. I did an interview with the Associated Press, and they asked for me to drop off our press kit later on. The interview went well.
We left the house at 10 am, and headed first to pick up Ken Boring, NYRA-Vermont President, and then to the WDEV studio nearby in Waterbury. It was a nice quick interview, he was just looking for some soundbites, and I had a few juicy ones. After my favorite he said "oh, that's a nice one, that's definitely going on the air. You must have done this before." Indeed I have. I'm an old pro.
We then drove over to Norwich University, we were scheduled to table around lunchtime. On the way I did a quick interview with Vermont Public Radio. It wasn't a full interview, they were just looking for information to do a news mention on it. Norwich is a military academy, so many of the students there were cadets. We didn't have a table reserved for us, so we just grabbed one of the cafeteria tables and pulled it near the door. Students started showing up right away, and we had an excellent spot right by the lunch line. I was falling over myself to get the cards in their hands.
Except for one guy who very much disagreed with us and just didn't stop talking about it (and wasted a bunch of my time as I waited for at least one pause to make an escape), it was very smooth sailing. I was totally in my element. I hate sales, but when I am at a recruiting booth like this, that's just what I turn into - a master salesman. The art to it is to approach everyone and give them a short direct pitch. From that, instantly determine whether they are going to sign it right away, are waffling enough that a quick pitch can sell them on it, or if they are hostile to the idea. The first I quick get a card/pen in their hands, and the third I quickly dismiss, and the second I spent just a bit of time to convince them. Classic political calculation - identify the saints, sinners, and savables.
In about an hour and a half we got 87 people to fill out the cards. It was a great success. Everyone who signed up today will be added to the e-mail list and will be handed off to our phone bankers to follow up on and try to get a commitment for more action. Dave and Ken mostly passed out literature to folks. We need to develop a better strategy for these events to make best use of everyone's talents, and get everyone really working on it. Plus I need to do a better job of training folks. Being proactive is key. Just sitting at a table or standing around with a sign won't get you anywhere, you need to ask everyone directly and purposely if they'll sign something.
We left the school a little earlier than we had planned because things slowed down, but it gave us time to go get some lunch. We drove to Montpelier and found a nice spot to grab some food. I talked to the staff and they agreed to put out some of our flyers and lobby cards.
Originally we were going to stop by a local high school as they got out at 2:30, and see if we can draft some students to show up at our press conference to serve as a great backdrop for the cameras. But we were running short of time, so we decided to skip it.
We piled back in THABOAT (my magnificent car) and headed on down to the capitol building. We went in and set up, and I met Jay Leff, the chapter Vice-President. Hardy got us a great room. Channel 5 called ahead and said they were going to be a few minutes late. Channel 3 was on time. Either way, it was great they both came. Waiting for it to start we chatted with a few house members who walked by. Two co-sponsors of the bill stopped in to talk with us. They pulled in a few colleagues to give us a chance to sell them on it. I'm not sure we did, one guy was making some weird arguments and wasn't really accepting any of ours.
Finally channel 5 showed up and we got started around 3:20. Ken started it off, introducing NYRA-Vermont and basically outlining our mission and purpose there. It was his first time ever speaking like that, so he was nervous and messed up in a few places. Its alright though, he just needs a bit of practice and he'll be fine. Not that I was great either. I hadn't so much as prepared an outline, so I was rambling at times, repeating myself, and leaving out other key points. Eh, not my finest performance, but it got the job done.
I gave it off to Hardy and he did a good job going over the stats involved in drunk driving in the state. He was very calm and polished. Then it was opened up to questions. Channel 3 had a reporter with the camera woman, but channel 5 just had a camera. So the channel 3 guy asked a few questions, and I answered them well. I'm always better at answering questions that just talking.
We walked back to the car and stopped in at the Montpelier office for the Burlington Free Press. They weren't at the press conference, so we thought we'd stop in to talk to them. They weren't planning on writing something up on us, but planned to run the AP story. The Associated Press had already finished their article by that time, and the Burlington Free Press printed us out a copy. It was a good story. It didn't seem like a story that would get picked up outside of Vermont though, but one can always hope.
We hung out for a bit at the car, and then walked around downtown Montpelier for a bit. Hardy stopped young folks on the street and got them to fill out the card. I stopped into a few businesses and got them to put out some flyers and some of the cards. The tatoo/piercings shop was really behind us. So that's good.
It was now around 5:30, and we figured we were sufficiently fashionably late to the Vermont Restaurant Association Legislative Reception we planned on crashing. We weren't invited, but even so, Hardy knew half the people there. Plus he knew the President of the group, who greeted us and said we were free to hang out and have some of the food. Simply an amazing spread. Lots of different restuarants in the association put out some of their finest foods for us all. Ahh, free dinner.
We rubbed elbows with a bunch of Senators and House members. I was quite impressed with Hardy. He knew quite a lot of people there. Lobbyists, Senators, Representatives, and the Governor too. I hadn't quite realized before how active he really was in Vermont politics. NYRA is truly blessed to have him on our side. Hardy has taken care of a huge amount of the planning for this campaign. Along with great work by Jay and Heavenly, this campaign is without a doubt the best organized I've ever been a part of. Its wonderful in a way. I'm pretty much the spokesman and recruiter, and today Hardy was pretty much just leading me around from place to place. I didn't have to plan, or think, or anything. It was great! Say my piece, recruit some folks, and thats it. Things were more difficult at the reception though.
Hardy introduced me to a bunch of folks, including the Governor. I was out of my element. It was a social mixer type event, which I'm bad at in general. Plus I didn't know anyone in the room except Hardy, and I was starting to really wind down from lack of sleep. So all-in-all not much happened from it, except a few people talked about the issue, and I got some good food.
We drove back and I was almost to the point of nodding off sometimes on the drive back. We dropped of Ken, and then made it back to Hardy's house (in one piece thank God). Now I've just spend like an hour and a half writing out this campaign update. Dave just finished entering in the information from all the people who signed up today at Norwich. So, now with all that done, and it being 10:30. I am finally, at last, thankfully getting to sleep. Ahhh... 8:30 am to 10:30 pm straight working on 4 hours sleep. Ahh, what a life. We're off to Rutland tomorrow morning, we're hitting up three schools and doing a radio interview. Plus Alexis Grant and Rio Samsie get here tomorrow early morning, that'll be great. They are on the road at this moment and will drive through the night.
I hear from Heavenly that the news on channel 5 was really great. I think between the TV, the radio, and the AP story, this is the best day for proactively attracting media in NYRA's history. I am incredibly impressed. Hardy really did a great job in setting things up for us. We've always struggled at getting media coverage on our terms, on our schedule, for events that we organized. This is the first, and best success we've had with that. Things are getting better all the time.