Below is a blog post I've written for the Bethwood Patch, announcing that I am resuming writing for them, this time as a blogger, as well as letting Democrats in the Third Congressional District know about the upcoming Democratic National Committee Delegate Selection Caucus.
Around a year and a half ago, I briefly wrote an 'Around Town' column for Bethwood Patch, before taking a new job as Social Media Manager for the Community Health Center in Middletown. I tried to keep up the column with my new job, but I was just too busy. I started a blog for work, I continued my personal blog, and I did hosted an Internet radio show with my youngest daughter.
Since then, various people have encouraged me to write a blog for Bethwood Patch. They even suggested that I could simply copy material from my other blogs and post some of the material here.
Recently, I started setting up yet another blog, where I intend to write about my run for State Representative in the 114th Assembly District which includes Woodbridge and parts of Orange and Derby.
With all of this, I have decided to accept the offer from the Bethwood Patch. I can't say for certain how often I'll be able to write blog posts here or how long I'll be able to keep up the blog posts, but I do hope for an ongoing discussion.
With that, let me add a little bit of local news to this blog post. Wednesday evening there will caucuses around the state at which the Democrats will select their delegates to the National Convention in Charlotte, NC later this year. Two Woodbridge residents, Gerry Weiner and Jen Just are on the list of possible delegates. The caucus for the Third Congressional district will be at North Haven High School, 221 Elm St. North Haven, beginning at 7:30 PM, with doors opening at 7:00 PM.
I hope they get a chance to go. I attended the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 as a blogger, and it was a wonderful experience. I also hope that registered Democrats from Bethany and Woodbridge consider coming to the caucus. It is a great chance see firsthand how the political process works and even to get a little bit more involved.
This morning, I surfed through Facebook, and found I had been invited to the "Celebration of Hope" Spring Gala for the Beth-El Center, an organization set up "to alleviate homelessness and hunger in the Milford area". They have a story of a guy struggling to get by who found self-sufficiency through their program. I'm currently helping with the Meriden-Wallingford Coalition on Housing, and at work help promote the activities of our "Wherever You Are" program, which provides medical care to the homeless.
At work, one of my co-workers was discussing an athletic event that some of the staff are participating in. They are working to raise funds for a nine year old boy who has brain cancer. The boy has been working to raise funds for the Make A Wish foundation.
It's these sort of things that make you stop and take stock of life. What are you doing with your life? What is the meaning of life? Is it to help a person develop self sufficiency? Is it to help bring joy to the lives of kids facing horrible struggles?
How does this relate to the political process? Are the politicians you know running to get elected to help those around them, or to hold on to a job and protect the interests of their friends?
Is the political process, itself, making a difference in people's lives?
To get elected, I"m going to have to convince between six and seven thousand people to vote for me. I'm going to work hard on that, but along the way, I'm going to work hard on getting people more involved in their communities, finding more opportunities to help others, whether they be fighting homelessness, cancer, or whatever hurdles.
Ultimately, politics should be about helping make the lives of the people around us better, but if we aren't doing that along the way, maybe were missing the biggest opportunity.
It's evening and the chance of scattered thunderstorms has passed. So has much of my energy. I was up late last night for the convention that nominated me to be the Democratic Candidate for State Representative. I was up early to get a little campaign work done before heading off to my day job.
Back home, at the end of the day, I feel I should be reaching out to voters; potential supporters or donors. I should be writing my campaign biography or some issue statements.
My wife and daughters are off at various events, and I take a few moments to relax. Friends online are tweeting about idol on TV. Me? I play some YouTube videos of poets reading there works.
Then, it strikes me; a campaign in free verse. No, I can't talk about the issues in the style of Billy Collins or Ted Kooser. Or can I?
What are the issues? That the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation? That the best minds of our generation are being destroyed by madness, looking for an angry tax break?
At church the other week, the preacher talked about cultivating joy, not the artificial saccharine Hallmark Card happiness that gets pasted on the face of every politician when they say how happy they are to see someone they can't remember, but the sort of joy that is hard to grow, that comes from a minor victory in the face of a major struggle.
Yes, making sure that money is spent appropriately and effectively is important, and that no one has to pay too much, or more than their fair share, but what is it that really matters?
Helping people cultivate joy in a rocky garden and share a little kindness. Maybe that is more the task of the poet but maybe we need a little more poetry at the capitol.
It's evening and the chance of scattered thunderstorms has passed, for now.
Well, the Democratic 114th Assembly District convention in Connecticut is over and I'm the Democratic nominee. Its almost time for bed, but I want to share a few thoughts before I crash . The past few days have been a slow crescendo of excitement, building up to the convention. Now, the convention is over, and I look to the five months ahead. I have a lot of work ahead of me.
Over the past few weeks, there have been discussions about who would run as a Democrat in the 114th district. When no one else accepted the task, I stood up. It is important that there we don't have uncontested seats, and I do think I've got something important to say.
Around twenty-five people showed up for the convention. I would have liked more, but it happened on very short notice and I don't have a campaign fully set up yet. I was very pleased with the comments that my friends made when they nominated me and seconded the nomination. It was my first time giving my stump speech, and people said it was good. I'm glad I got a chance to deliver it to a friendly audience, but I need a lot more work on it.
You can read my speech, as prepared for delivery here.
With my late start, now I have to raise $5000 in donations from five to a hundred dollars. At least 150 of the donors need to come from the town of Woodbridge, Orange, and Derby. It is going to be a lot of work to raise this money, and fundraising has never been my strong suit. There were a few donations, mostly small, which was good.
Then, there is the issue of getting to know all the people in Woodbridge, Orange and Derby that I need to ask to vote for me. That is going to be a challenge as well. Yet this is one of the things that can make the campaign a lot of fun. I need to go to as many civic events as possible. They should be fun and already Fiona is speaking excitedly about some of them. I hope it will give me good material to blog about.
Most importantly, my goal is to encourage others to get more involved in their communities. At least one person at the event had never been to a political convention before, and introducing them to this world is one of the early small victories. I hope to have many more like this over the coming months.
But now, it is time for bed. Tomorrow, I'll see what is online. I'll talk to more reporters, and resume the long trek to November. Wish me luck everyone
Monday evening, I managed to get to two Democratic U.S. Congressional Conventions and they were very different events. In Connecticut's Third Congressional District, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is running for re-election. While I don't know the official campaign slogan or talking points, the unofficial one which seemed to summarize the convention was, "Everyone loves Rosa". There were the kids saying the pledge of allegiance, the local high school chorus singing the Star Spangled Banner, and there was food.
Unlike other conventions where you wait until it is over, everyone arrived, started eating, and then the convention started, over half an hour late. As much as everyone loves Rosa, they really love Italian pastries, and the pastries are perhaps a great symbol for the campaign. I rushed out before things really got going and headed up to the Fifth Congressional District.
This was a very different affair. It is an open seat with several candidates vying for the nomination. The clear front runner was Chris Donovan, and the questions were, how large a percentage would he get and would the other candidates get enough votes to qualify for a primary without having to gather petitions to be on the ballot.
In the end, Donovan got 64% of the vote. Esty got 20% of the vote and Roberti got 16% of the vote. They all qualify to be on the primary ballot, although it was touch and go for Roberti for a moment. He only had four votes to spare, and during the vote swamping at the end, he briefly dropped below that threshold.
(For details see this spreadsheet).
With these conventions over, it looks like their will be a primary both for the U.S. Senate and for the Fifth Congressional District. The top line will be held by Chris Murphy and Chris Donovan. Murphy, being from the Fifth, is likely to draw out a lot of voters who may vote the line, boosting Donovan. Likewise, Donovan being from the Fifth may draw out more voters who are likely to favor Murphy.
The second line will have Bysiewicz for Senate and, because candidates are alphabetized who don't have the nomination, Esty will be on the same line with her. Again, these two candidates could compliment each other.
Roberti will be on the third line, by himself. That is, of course, if no one drops out or no one else petitions to be on the ballot. Also, it doesn't get to the issue of primaries at the State Legislative level, which we won't know for another week or so.
So, while the Third Congressional District was a well tempered celebration, the Fifth was a raucous contest. The food in the Fifth was going to be at some restaurant after the convention, but I didn't have the energy for it.
Both conventions were fun, and I reiterate my encouragement for others to get out, get involved, and perhaps even go to a political convention.