On this Veteran's Day, I'm reminded of words from my early hero and late friend, Granny D. Arriving in Washington on February 30, 2000 after her epic 3,200-mile walk across America for democracy, the 90 year-old patriot went first to Arlington Cemetery. There she invoked the “brave spirits” who gave their lives "for a government where we might stand together as free and equal citizens.”
Freedom and equality – that’s why veterans like my Granddad fought and risked their lives. Are we ready to continue their struggle and put public service before partisanship today?
In a small and incomplete way, we fought for those ideals in this campaign. Although we did not win on Tuesday night, I am proud of what we accomplished together against the odds. Facing a four-term incumbent with 28 years in elective office and a 20,000 voter registration advantage in this gerrymandered district, we campaigned hard to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents and won more votes than our opponent has ever won before – until Tuesday's Trump wave. Our 61,393 vote total (46%) was nearly double the number of registered Democrats, and our loss in District 5 was shared by Hillary Clinton, Maggie Hassan, and other well-known Democrats on the ballot.
None of this would have been possible without your support. Even with our self-imposed donation cap and rejection of corporate contributions, we raised a record number and amount of donations for an Executive Council campaign and built an unprecedented grassroots organization. Thanks to our amazing team and volunteers, we made over 85,000 personal voter contacts and earned over 1 million impressions online. Most importantly, we ran an optimistic, issue-based, people-powered campaign focused not just on likely voters but also disempowered groups like youth, low-income people, and communities of color. And we had fun in the process! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making all that possible.
It hurts to try so hard and come up short. But knowing I was not alone makes all the difference. That’s why I’m ready to keep fighting for "free and equal citizenship" with all of you – especially now.
Simply put, the Republican sweep of every branch of our state and federal government means 50,000 low-income Granite Staters could soon lose health insurance, including thousands who receive drug treatment under the Affordable Care Act; fossil fuel extraction and emissions could rise fast, accelerating climate change and squelching our state's fledgling clean energy industry; 13,000 NH women and men could have their basic health care curtailed at Planned Parenthood clinics; commuter rail will likely stall again, along with the 5,600 permanent jobs and $165 million in federal investment it promises for NH; and worker’s rights, the minimum wage, public education, women's equality, and more will face ongoing attack.
I am not prepared to let this happen without a fight. Although my own path forward is unclear, I will do all I can to stand up for the values and ideas we espoused in this campaign. My kids and my community leave me little choice, especially now.
I hope you’ll continue to walk the talk with me. Join us for an informal celebration and a look ahead at our Democracy Hub next Tuesday, November 15th from 5:30-8pm at 95 W Pearl St in Nashua. Bring your own ideas for our organization. Stay connected by email and social media to hear important (occasional) calls-to-action as they arise. And please keep the faith and keep in touch!
Yours in service,