By Mardi Devolites
For months after the 2016 Presidential Election, I could not bear to watch the news.
The 2018 Midterm Election finally did create some hope, so in April 2019 when I received an invitation to a Region 9 meeting of Precinct Committee people and volunteers, I decided to attend.
The meeting was held in Harriet Young’s beautiful home north of Flagstaff. There I met a group of people whose enthusiasm and positivity made me feel that I might be able to make a difference by helping to elect more Democrats in 2020 to flip the regressive and racist Arizona State House from Red to Blue. In short, these folks gave me more hope.
Dawn Schackner, my now canvassing buddy and co-architect of our innovative outreach activities, attended the same meeting at Harriet’s in order to help defeat Trump. From that day forward, she and I have tried all kinds of things to reach out to people in the Doney Park/Winona area. We wanted to target the closed-minded Trump voters to show them that we have more in common than not. The Outlaw Dirty Money (ODM) petition has proved invaluable in presenting us to non-Democrats as non-partisan cheerful folks who have the best interests of all Arizonans at heart. Voter registration also gives us an opportunity to talk sense with non-Democrats.
After being chased off some Republican porches, Dawn suggested that we set up shop at Mountain View Market on Townsend Winona Rd, deep in the heart of our rural Trumpland. She had owned the market for 10 years and had established friendships with customers from all walks of life. Starting in June, Dawn and I have spent most Saturdays from 12-2pm, registering voters, collecting ODM signatures, and visiting with the locals who frequent the place.
In January of this year, Dawn and I tried a few days of voter registration at NAU. As they seemed to have plenty of volunteers at NAU, we started wondering about Coconino Community College. Dawn and I determined to see if we could set up Voter Registration at CCC. In one day we managed to meet with everyone necessary to have it happen, Over the last few months, we have consistently had a presence at CCC on Tuesdays and some Thursdays thanks to some great volunteers who showed up to help us. Due to coronavirus, we have currently suspended operations at CCC, but plan to start up again in the fall if not before.
We just recently started rural canvassing with Region 9 Party Captain Linda Guarino on Sundays. We did voter registration, ODM, and carried petitions for all of our great Democratic candidates. The local Democrats we visited cheerfully signed their way through the petitions. The Sunday canvasses were done in teams of volunteers with designated drivers. We always had fun.
Now, with the need to avoid contact, our focus is turning to phone banking to keep in touch with other residents. Check out the CoconinoDemocrats.org website for online training opportunities to expand our outreach. We can use our organizing resources to make sure that our neighbors have what they need without leaving our homes.
As a way to gain a sense of making a difference in this crazy world, I can definitely recommend volunteering with the Coconino Democratic Party. They are a bunch of good-hearted folks who really do care about this country and their fellow Americans. It’s worth the effort, especially in the time of Coronavirus.