It’s now two weeks until my first political primary when I will become the NYS Assembly Candidate in the 147th District on three election lines.
At this point in time, here is what I know to be true: l love going door to door, talking with constituents and discovering parts of Erie and Wyoming Counties that I never knew existed. At the same time—-running for office is definitely challenging! That being said, somehow, someway each day brings a moment of joy that makes my efforts worthwhile.
Last night that wonder moment came on the campaign trail while going door to door. I rang the bell at a house set on the rural outskirts of East Aurora. The doors were all closed. No cars were parked in the driveway. No one immediately responded, Deciding that no one was home, I began to write a note on my campaign flyer, saying I was sorry to have missed the voter.
Suddenly there was the sound of a door lock unbolting. The door moved a bit, then closed. It moved again, this time a bit wider, but then again closed. I began to wonder if perhaps a child was playing. Then finally the door opened far enough for a person to be visible. It was a man in a wheelchair, obviously struggling to move the door from his seated position.
As I carefully handed the man one of my flyers, I noticed a blueish tinge to his fingers and an inability to completely grasp the paper. Yet he was obviously capable and aware as evidenced by his immediate comment, ”Oh yes, I know who you are.” But then he seemed to become confused as he continued, “ I voted for you.”
Now people often mix up signing petitions for me as some sort of formal endorsement of my candidacy, which is exactly what I suggested to this gentleman. Again he looked me in the eye and with a stronger timber to his voice stated, “No, I voted for you.”
Immediately I realized that this constituent, who struggled to open a door, would have a great challenge getting to a polling place and voting in person. Yet obviously he cared enough about the honor of electing public officials that he had applied for and completed an absentee ballot. Even more inspiring was the fact that his vote was for me….for my candidacy.
At this point in our conversation, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry…and fortunately, did neither! Instead, I thanked this gentle man and asked if he had any questions for me. Again, he touched me by answering, “No. Just good luck.”
It was a singular moment of campaign joy that will undoubtedly remain with me, not only through election day—but for the rest of my life.