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August 12, 2018

Head Heart Hustle Herald: Only better for it

Head Heart Hustle Herald

Only better for it

Sunday, August 12

An open letter at the close of a great campaign,

When I last wrote, I was unsure of the outcome of the election. I’ll admit that the effect of seeing my name listed at the top of 14 names was certainly intoxicating. I saw that it was possible, we weren’t crazy to believe it could happen, it really might happen. Due to high voter turnout and high reporting abnormalities, the data took a very long time to trickle in. By 4:00am the tally was finalized and I had dropped from first to third place. So it was not going to happen for me after all. Not this time.

With that, my campaign to become State Representative is at a close. And, while I am disappointed that I fell short of my ambition to win the election, I am reminded that winning was never the goal. The goal was to make peoples lives better by making the necessities of life more accessible and affordable. The goal was to advocate for underserved people of all ages. The goal was an end to self-destructive policies that put profit before people. The goal was justice and healing.

This campaign was an effort to achieve provide me with a better vantage point from which to advocate for those changes, but those goals remain the same.

We have a lot to be proud of. We conducted a campaign where the raw currency was caring and where the highest compliment is to be helpful.

After the fatigue of the day and the aftershock of the months that preceded it hit me, I find that I am really not that sad. I am sad for what this result implies about who can win and how, and I’m sad that the effort that I and so many others worked on so well for so long did not have the outcome we want. I’m sad because I knew that systemic change was incredibly difficult if I was not elected and certainly more so now. But mostly, as I shared with friends, I am deeply proud and deeply grateful.

I am so proud of the beautiful kind substantive, honest campaign that we ran without knowing how to do any such thing. I am proud of how many votes I got as a first-time candidate. I am proud that so many talented and amazing people made time to support our effort. I am grateful for every single person who helped and who cared and who voted.

Despite our outcome, we celebrate the victories of Rashida Tlaib and other political guideposts that remind us that our approach can work and that good people, too, can thrive in our Democratic system.

This little boy was wearing spiderman slippers when he opened the door. He was shocked when I- a random stranger- made the universal sign for web blasting (how did she know???).

The fight was on until we both decided to work for good.

The community we built is still there.

The web is still strong and growing.

__________________

I returned to work at UCHC where I will continue to hone the practice of usefulness and service and bottom-up change. If, one day, I am elected, it won’t be in order to become useful, it will because I already am. And if I am never elected, I won’t have wasted a minute at UCHC. 

After seeing the election results early Wednesday morning, I woke to phone calls from would-be constituents who needed help with property taxes and home repair and water bills.

At work on Thursday, I befriended two children who received sweater hearts in exchange for helping me out on the copy machine.

Today, I drove around Hamtramck collecting yard signs and thanking supporters. I reunited with Abdelbaser, (my client who was equally mad that I didn’t win and that I didn’t post a picture of us on facebook) Alina (my honorary niece who returned my thank-you card with one she typed herself), Joe (who was doing his customary word search and managed- for the first time- not to cry when I explained how I would help him with his property) and many other neighbors and supporters. At one house, the man had already taken the sign down. I offered to take if from them saying “I might run again later” and he said “Is it alright with you if we keep it? We want to put it back up next time!” This is my beloved community.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • If you have photos, please email them to us, post them on Facebook, or mail prints to michele4rep@gmail.com.
  • If you have a yard sign, please return it to the porch of 2694 Trowbridge or email to ask me to pick it up.
  • If you have feedback for me specifically or for the campaign, please share it.

GRATITUDES:

I have been processing a rather large list of “lessons learned” and wishes in the event of a genie visit, but of all the regrets, my biggest one is that I didn’t take more time to show my gratitude for the people who ran this campaign. Here is a meager attempt to acknowledge the inner core of supporters:

Evan Fisher- I would wager that this man logged more volunteer hours for the campaign than anyone else. He was surprisingly good at portraying himself as a paid staffer but everything he gave was a gift in the truest sense of the word. Evan has coordinated and trained our volunteer effort since APRIL. Remember April? We were praised by representatives of other campaigns and city clerks for having awesome volunteers and this man deserves tons of credit for that.

Alyssa Petroni- Alyssa is the financial manager. She literally signed up for the job no one else would do. It’s funny how, in the world of big money in politics, Super PACs can run rampant but you better not accept more than $20 in cash and you better dot the i’s on all the nitty gritty details of any individual donors and figure out an arcane software and keep that data for 5 years. This is extremely underappreciated behind-the-scenes work that she mastered in the midst of absurd obstacles.

Molly Aronson- Molly is this campaign’s pinch hitter. Our fabulous campaign manager who basically did everything and I really don’t see why I should bother trying to list it all. She has been a complete joy to work with. She’s moving off to Chicago but we know this will not be the last we hear of her. (Molly is also a writer. Check out her recent post about the campaign!)

Kevin Waskelis- Kevin has been in this campaign through and through primarily as a mapping and data guru, with many other hats to boot. Its not just his knowledge- his commitment to this campaign has been a huge asset, because he is so willing to support in whatever way is needed.

Ted Phillips- My boss at UCHC aka my Detroit Dad, Ted is simultaneously the most overworked and the most generous person I know. Ted knocked on doors, served volunteers, and told us many things that immediately seemed obvious but were not.

Shirley Looney- Shirley, aka my Detroit Mom, has been the most consistent ground game of this campaign. She has logged hundreds of phone calls, has hung fliers and knocked doors. She has baked cakes and organized events. Her energy, generosity and positive spirit have been beyond incredible through every step.

My actual parents. Thank you for everything.

You already know this but there are so many more people to thank. I will make a very sincere effort to show you all how much I am truly grateful over the next couple of weeks. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.

At this point, I am looking forward to wearing clothing that doesn’t have my name on it. I will take some time to rest and reflect and I will be back at work as hard as ever. I will be thinking of what I can do better and differently and I will be remembering this experience fondly. When serendipity happens to me, I see it at the universe’s way of telling me I’m doing something right, and there have been so many wonderful memories and moments of MAGIC that I just know I’m on the right track.

This experience has enriched me and I am only better for it.

 

In gratitude,

Your advocate,

Michele

August 12, 2018

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