June 3, 2018

My Day on the Campaign Trail: I Will Not Quit

Saturday, June 2nd, started like every other summer Saturday, since becoming a candidate. I went knocking on doors, hoping to introduce myself to voters and listen to their concerns. Today’s area is near and dear to my heart - a neighborhood that has not succumbed to the suburban sprawl yet. The Kansas of yesteryear. Most of the people I have met there are surprised someone has actually made the effort to connect with them. They feel ignored and forgotten.

Halfway thru the precinct, I approached yet another home with my campaign literature. My dear friend kept his watchful eye with the car running. After ringing the doorbell, a few dogs appeared off leash. I said hello to them from afar and thought nothing of it. The next thing I know, the dogs run across the property toward the porch and I’m bit by a Doberman. Unfortunately, he was not done and began attacking me, biting my hands and leg. Quickly assessing my options, I found myself pinned against the front door with nowhere to go. I screamed for help a few times, then fell silent and stood still, hoping the dog would stop.

HE DIDN’T.

Thankfully, my friend was able to provide a distraction long enough for me to get away. While he was fending off the dog, I calmly returned to the vehicle. My hands bleeding and swollen, I shoved them into a cooler full of drinks. We raced to the nearby fire station. No one there. We stopped at the nearby veterinarian. We were turned away. Eventually we ended up at a drug store medical clinic.

I was cleaned up, given antibiotics and told the police would need to be alerted. This is not how I envisioned my day when I woke up this morning. But this is the latest challenge of many that have presented themselves as obstacles on this campaign trail to victory.

So, while finishing the paperwork and waiting for my prescriptions (yes two prescriptions), I looked at my friend and said, “You know what we’re going to do? He looked at me and asked, “What?”

“FINISH THAT PRECINCT.”

The nurses laughed, thinking I was joking. But I was quite serious. I looked at them and said , “I’m going to win this thing and a Doberman making me their Happy Meal is not going to stop me.”

And that’s exactly what we did. He drove while I swilled down some Advil, antibiotics and bandaged up my hands. We went right back out there, finished that precinct, and started another.

Why? What was I thinking?

Because I’m not a quitter and there are people out there that feel forgotten. I want to meet them and hear their stories. I want to look them in the eye, shake their hand, and go fight for them.

Tonight, I am sore, tired and inspired. Perspective is a good thing. There is always someone that would willingly walk in your shoes.

I have held a crying woman, scared because her husband is slowly dying in their home.
I have giggled with a radiant bald woman, proud to have defeated cancer.
I have sat on a porch swing with a couple that have only known their town as home.

I have been prayed over, served lemonade, given bottled homemade beer and told to “go give ‘em hell in Topeka”.

I AM BLESSED.

Blessed to have this opportunity, blessed to meet such amazing people and blessed with the strong constitution of my grandfather to push ahead. Hard work pays off. Today’s reward was meeting some incredible people. People that never met me before but showed genuine kindness and trusted me with their burdens. These people remind me of the old Italian neighborhood I have fond memories of from childhood. Honest, hard-working people that just want someone to be their voice, do right by them and not sell-out. They matter.

As I noted, we finished one precinct and began another, before it was time to retire for the night. I am eternally grateful to my pal Jim for being my knight in shining armor today. But I am even more grateful for my faith in Him and the people that trust me to go fight for them. I will not forget those wonderful people. I will not let them down.

I WILL NOT QUIT.