The last four weeks have been a flurry of activity (apparently so much so that I neglected to publish diary entries!) I lost the primary without regret. Perhaps lost is too mild of a word. I pretty well got walloped and now it is quiet. I don’t particularly like quiet. And I don’t expect to allow the quiet to last for long.
I am very proud of the race we ran. It was positive, community-oriented and 100% focused on voter outreach. What I already miss most are the daily conversations with fellow Democrats. But taking a cue from them, I will be working as hard as I can to defeat Trump in November and to take back the United States Senate. And of course, I will do all I can to lift up my Emerge Maine sisters across the state.
108 days until November 3rd. All is good.
4,577! 4,577 voters in Senate District 29 (South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and part of Scarborough) have already requested ballots for the July 14th election and almost 3,000 voters have received their ballots. Right now, this very moment, someone could be voting!! That makes every day from now until July 14th, Election Day.
Momentum is building and this competitive race is getting more and more attention. Earlier this month, The South Portland Democratic Committee hosted a Senate District 29 virtual Candidates Forum. It was a really interesting discussion that highlighted the different approaches and perspectives of each candidate. If you missed it - it is available here: https://www.facebook.com/SoPoDems/videos/2606579943003830/
The Southern Maine Forecaster July 19th edition featured a candidate profile focusing on the state’s response to the pandemic. The Maine League of Women Voters, the Cape Courier, and the South Portland Sentry will all be publishing profiles in the next ten days.
My day is spent on the phone reaching out to voters to introduce myself and learn about the issues that are important to them. I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve met so many interesting people who are willing to share their stories, knowledge, and wisdom. And I’ve even had a few call me back because they thought of something else they wanted to say. How cool is that!
The most surprising event of the past week was the “Have” vs. “Has” controversy that one of my mailers instigated. I was a bit taken back how passionate grammar aficionados can be. Words do matter and I am grateful that they were generous with their time and knowledge.
Kudos to all the candidates and groups including the League of Women Voters of Maine and AARP Maine who has so successfully promoted Absentee voting as a safe and healthy alternative to going to the polls.
If you haven’t yet requested your ballot – it’s not too late to do so. You can request a ballot online at https://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl or you can call/text me at 207-318-1430 and I’ll mail you a ballot application.
All is good. 24 days until July 14th. Every day is Election Day!
Thank you for your ongoing love and support,
#votebymail #sari2020 #haveorhas
As a mom of two sons, I have worried about them for all sorts of reasons but I have never feared for their lives. I have never feared that walking down the street, jogging in the park, driving to a friend's house could be a death sentence.
How have we as a country allowed the crimes of racism, brutality, and violence to become commonplace? Why have I not done more? Why did it take watching the brutal murder of George Floyd as he cried out "I can't breathe" to motivate me, motive us, to take to the streets?
Crimes rooted in institutionalized racism are far too often committed without consequences. We have elected officials who incite and encourage hatred and violence. Politicians willing to use military force against peaceful protestors to improve their chance of reelection. We know this is wrong and demands urgent action.
In my calls to voters this week, I have heard a variation of this over and over again. But what I have also heard is hesitation and feelings of being overwhelmed. That this problem feels too big to solve. And I remind them (and myself) that America’s story has been written by everyday people who are willing to do the hard work it takes to right even the biggest wrong.
I am so proud of the young people of South Portland who organized a peaceful march from the High School to the Police station. And to our local police force who marched beside them and acknowledged that there is work to be done.
As my Emerge sister, A’shanti Gholar wrote, “We need to stand up to racism and call for justice. We need to change every law, system, and policy that upholds white supremacy and endangers the lives of against marginalized communities and put policies in place that empower them Black Americans. We need to reform our criminal justice system. We must demand that all our political leaders prioritize ending harm.”
I commit to you that as your Democratic Senator standing up to racial, social, and economic injustice will be my highest priority.
7 days until absentee ballots arrive. 37 days until Election Day. This is a very competitive race. We’d love to have you join us on the campaign team. There is lots of work to be done.
Thank you for your continued love and support.
Signs, signs, signs! Signs are going up all over South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and Scarborough. Hit me up if you would like one for your yard.
Of all of our pre-pandemic campaign activities, house parties were my favorite. I love the engagement and sense of community as charted a course for Maine’s future. We had great house parties in January and February and 20+ more on the calendar. Alas, the pandemic put those plans to rest. But this month, we embarked on a new adventure - virtual house parties.
Much to my delight, virtual house parties have been a blast. It is amazing to me how quickly Zoom has become a part of our lives and how comfortable we’ve all become with it. In many ways, it is a window into our post-pandemic new normal. If you are interested in hosting or attending a virtual house party, please let me know.
Of course, the other big change is no neighborhood canvassing. Instead, I am spending hours calling Democratic voters. I absolutely love making these calls. I’ve met so many interesting people, chatted about a variety of issues, commiserated about the loneliness of social distancing, and even been told a couple of jokes that I should incorporate into campaign speeches.
But what has struck me the most is how many people have remarked that this is the first time a candidate has ever called them and asked them what issues are important to them. It shouldn’t be that way. We need to do a better job of making sure that every voice is heard and that there is a welcoming seat at the table for everyone who wants to participate. Isn’t that the very definition of democracy? If elected, I am committed to prioritizing inclusion, transparency, and community involvement.
The campaign is kicking into high gear! We have lots of volunteer activities and would love to have you on our team. Give me a shout 207-318-1430 if you want to help me WIN this race!!
44 days to go. Thank you for your continued love and support.
Right now the campaign is all about introducing me to as many people as possible and encouraging them to vote in the July 14th Democratic primary.
Each day, I spend time on the phone calling Democrats in my District. Initially, I was hesitant, much the same as when I first started canvassing. But now, call time has become the highlight of my day. I have had the great fortune of meeting so many interesting people who are willing to share their stories. From folks who marched in the civil rights and anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s and ’70s to young activists learning about the power of civic engagement.
Pretty universally, folks are tired of staying-at-home and are longing for summer. Yet, with few exceptions, everyone recognizes the importance of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. There is definitely concern and apprehensive as to what the future will bring. I’ve had numerous discussions about the challenges the state is facing.
Digital connections continue to be a major focus of our outreach campaign. This week we launched our first video ad. I hope you watch it and of course, I would love your feedback. Filming the video in the midst of social distancing was an interesting project. The production team sent me a preconfigured iPhone and a tripod. The production lead was sitting in his car in my driveway giving us instructions. And the rest of the crew joined us on a Zoom call.
The video encapsulates my legislative priority.“As we emerge from this pandemic, we have an opportunity to rebuild our state in ways that benefit all of us. A Maine that is more resilient, equitable, and just”.
There are 61 days until the Democratic primary. We have lots of volunteer opportunities that you can do right from the comfort of your home. Shoot me an email at email@example.com to join the team.
And don’t forget to request your absentee ballot (click here to request your ballot - https://www.sari2020.com/cms/vote/). It’s easy, safe, secure, and protects the health of our poll workers.
As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement,
#sari2020 #votebymail #RebuildingMaine
Campaigning without direct human interaction is a challenge. I’m sure you’re missing in-person conversations as much as I am. Until our public health experts tell us differently, social distancing really needs to remain the order of the day. So we improvise.
This past Sunday morning, I hosted my first Facebook Live event. I am really thrilled with how many people participated, commented, and emoji’d (is that even a word?).
We talked about how our communities are responding to the pandemic. I had an opportunity to talk about subjects that are near and dear to my heart including the South Portland Community of Kindness, the South Portland Food Cupboard, the South Portland Housing Authority Food Delivery Brigade, our Hi Neighbor outreach program and the work that Rotary is doing including the Volunteer Surge project.
Volunteer Surge is an initiative to recruit 1 million+ volunteers to help professional healthcare workers fight COVID-19 from your home or in the field. You do not have to have any prior medical training. Just a willingness to help. To learn more go to: https://theglobalimpactgroup.org/
I plan on being LIVE every Sunday morning at 9am; sometimes it will just be me and sometimes we’ll have special guests.
This month’s topics are:
May 10th – How Technology Connects Us
May 17th – Honoring our Fallen Heroes as a Community
May 24th - Ensuring that Voting is Safe and Secure
May 31st – Looking at Phase 2 of the State’s Reopening Plan
Are there topics you’d like to open up for discussion? Send your ideas my way. I’d love to see this evolve into an on-going community forum.
There are 71 days until the July 14th Democratic primary and it’s all hands on deck. We have volunteer opportunities that you can do right from the comfort of your home. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the team.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
#FacebookLive #SundayWithSari #VolunteerSurge
Campaign Diary #25 April 24, 2020 “Francis Perkins”
As a candidate, I have been receiving questionnaires from various groups - some targeted to endorsements and others for news articles. They generally focus on policy issues; often accompanied by a pledge to vote a certain way. I’ve completed those that I am comfortable with and align with my values, some are sitting idly on my desk, and others have found their way to my trash can.
One, in particular, stood out. It asked “Who in government do you look up to? As a legislator, whose example would you like to follow, and why?” There are lots of quick answers to this question – Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel, Nelson Rockefeller, Golda Meir and as we watch this pandemic unfold Governors Cuomo, Newsom and Mills, and of course, Dr. Nirav Shaw of the Maine CDC.
But upon reflection, I harkened back to 6th grade when I was first introduced to Francis Perkins. I devoured her biography. Her intellect, her steadfastness, her persistence, and the courage of her conviction was indelible. She is my role model as a woman, a leader, and if I am fortunate enough to be elected, as a legislator.
Born in a time where women were not in the workplace, she doggedly pursued a career in public service. “A social worker who became the first woman to serve on a president’s cabinet, Frances Perkins was an uncompromising woman in a man’s world. She fought for safety regulations in New York factories, helped formulate the New Deal, and attempted to save German Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. A threat to the status quo, she was accused of being a Communist as well as a Russian Jew who fabricated her identity, and she faced both disparaging pamphlet campaigns and potential impeachment. Despite these challenges, Frances Perkins doggedly pursued the course she thought was right, helping transform American institutions in the process.”
“The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life.” – Frances Perkins
When FDR asked her to join his cabinet, " She responded by listing the policies she would pursue if appointed—including an end to child labor, a minimum wage, a 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, old-age insurance, and universal health insurance—and told him that if he didn’t support these goals, she would not serve on his cabinet.
Ultimately, her greatest achievement t was the passage of the Social Security Act. "In 1934, Roosevelt named Perkins the chair of the Committee on Economic Security, which he had created by executive order. In that role, she helped craft a social security plan that included not just the old-age pensions we now associate with the name Social Security, but also workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, maternal and child health services, and direct aid to the poor and the disabled." Perkins also helped draft the Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlawed most child labor and established a federal minimum wage, a system of overtime pay, an eight-hour workday, and, for most workers, a 40-hour workweek."
At the time, living in a small town in upstate New York, her Maine connection meant little to me. But one doesn’t have to look far to see the influence of her Yankee grandmother with whom she spent summers on the farm in Newcastle. As she wrote, “I am extraordinarily the product of my grandmother”.
As we respond to the economic and social impact of the pandemic, the principles she embodied and the polices she pursued are now more important than ever.
To learn more about her, watch the PBS special program - Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare. https://www.kcet.org/…/epi…/summoned-frances-perkins-and-the
81 days until the July 14th primary. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
#Sari2020 #VotebyMail #MainesFuture #FrancisPerkins
Campaign Diary #24 April 15, 2020 “The Birthday Dilemma”
In March, I hit the pause button on my campaign so we could laser-focus our time and energy on community organizing and action. With 90 days to go to the July 14th primary (new date), it is time to get going again.
As we emerge from this pandemic, working together, we are going to have an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned and rebuild our state in ways most of us would not have even imagined a few months ago. A Maine that is more resilient, equitable, just, and sustainable.
There is so much work to be done. But first, I have to get elected. More to the point, first I have to win the Democratic primary. How does one connect with voters in the age of COVID-19 complete with social distancing, fear and distraction is the million-dollar question. The traditional tried and true techniques – door to door canvassing and house parties are off the table.
Many candidates are making wellness check-in calls to older voters to mixed reactions. Others are significantly stepping up their use of digital platforms. If you’re local, you may have noticed that we have begun using digital advertising.
And that brings me to the birthday dilemma. I am not comfortable making unsolicited wellness calls to folks that don’t know me. But I still wanted to reach out and perhaps pierce our shared loneliness and isolation. So I decided to send out birthday cards.
What could go wrong with wishing someone a happy birthday? Seems innocuous enough, yes? Turns out, that the fact that a stranger (me) knows your birthday can be construed as creepy. For the record, all candidates have access to this information as part of the voter database. In hindsight, perhaps I should have anticipated this reaction.
So now I am in a quandary. Continue sending out birthday cards and chance upsetting some recipients or stop altogether and miss the opportunity to wish someone a happy birthday.
I’d love to hear your opinion. Send or not send? You can email me at email@example.com or text at 207-318-1430.
We’re all learning as we go along.
90 days until the July 14th primary. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
#Sari2020 #VotingbyMail #MainesFuture
Campaign Diary #23 April 6, 2020 “Hi Neighbor”
I am humbled by the incredible acts of generosity and expressions of gratitude in the midst of the COVID-19 storm.
Locally, the South Portland Community of Kindness Facebook group (now 1500+ strong) has tackled food insecurity by spreading the word about meal distribution and food pantries, answered the call for South Portland Food Cupboard volunteers, offered to shop for others and deliver supplies, donated diapers, generously given away books, games & puzzles, shared home school resources, bolstered our small business community, organized mask making, made sure pets were fed, provided links to vital resources, found housing, offered gardening advice, put bears in windows to the delight of our children, made Easter Baskets and offered Easter hams, and expressed concern for neighbors.
Our newest initiative is our “Hi Neighbor” door hangers. They are designed to let your neighbors know that you are available to assist with grocery or pharmacy pickup or just be a friendly voice to talk too. A huge shout out to House District 2 (Eliot, Kittery and South Berwick) Representative Michele Meyer for sharing the idea with us. If you would like some, let me know and I will mail them to you.
There are 64 days until the June 9th primary. While I have suspended campaigning to devote my time and resources to community service and organizing, I am still mindful of the need to reach out to voters. To introduce myself. To talk about what our post-pandemic state will look like. To encourage conversations about rebuilding, restoring and revitalizing. I look forward to having those conversations.
I am grateful for the leadership of Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC. Dr. Shah’s daily briefings are informative, instructive, gracious, and respectful. In the midst of uncertainty, he is a role model for us all.
Thank you for your continued support.
Virtual hugs (elbow bump)
Campaign Diary #22 March 31, 2020 “Vote by Mail”
In early March, as the pandemic was rearing its ugly head, I suspended campaigning in order to focus my time and energy on community service. But the reality is that the June 9th Democratic primary election is 70 days away and elections have consequences. The next legislature will be tasked with rebuilding, restoring, and revitalizing our communities and our state.
It is understandable that the June election is not top of mind for so many that are dealing with intensely personal issues – anxiety, unemployment, caregiving, isolation, illness and so much more. The June election process should not add to the stress-level.
Working together, we can make the June election safe and convenient for voters, volunteer poll workers (many of whom are in high-risk categories), and election officials.
Last week, I wrote to Governor Mills and Secretary of State Dunlap urging them to follow Nevada’s lead and conduct an all-mail primary election. If that is to happen, the preparation must begin immediately.
The plan in Nevada is to mail an absentee ballot for the primary election to all registered voters. Voters will be able to mark their ballot at home and then return it by mail using a postage-prepaid envelope or by dropping it off in person at a designated county location. Residents who are not currently registered to vote can register online.
In order to accommodate same-day voter registration, as well as assist voters who have issues with the ballot that was mailed to them, at least one in-person polling location will be available in each county, These polling locations will be set up to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers alike. You can read more about the Nevada plan here- https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showdocument?id=8491
If you would like to see a similar plan adopted here in Maine, I urge you to contact Governor Janet Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap at email@example.com.
Want to do more? Call or text me at 207-318-1430 and together we can brainstorm how to mobilize a vote by mail movement.
Absent Maine adopting a similar process; I will be focusing my campaign on encouraging and assisting voters to request an absentee ballot. I am urging all candidates to follow suit. Keeping our communities safe should be our top priority.
I am more committed than ever to serving Senate District 29 and the State of Maine. With your support, I will use my business leadership experience, innovation, and technology expertise, and community building skills to restore, rebuild and revitalize our communities, our healthcare and education infrastructure, our workforce, and our industries.
70 days until the June 9th primary. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
#VotebyMail #June9 #Sari2020
Campaign Diary #21 March 21, 2020 “Community of Kindness"
This has been a frightening week.
I am so grateful to those who labor on to provide vital services and a semblance of normalcy – healthcare workers, teachers, public safety, grocery store stockers & cashiers and so many more.
And I am thankful for the leadership of our Governor, Janet Mills, and for Dr. Shah of the Maine CDC and Dr. Fauci of the NIAID. Their steadfastness, thoughtfulness in times of extreme stress, and sharing of accurate information are instructive and inspiring.
In unsettled times, the most human instinct is to want to take action, do something, anything to feel useful. That is how I felt.
So on Saturday, March 14th, I launched a simple Facebook group – South Portland Community of Kindness. A hyper-local resource for those who need assistance and those who can offer assistance as we as a community navigate the impact of COVID-19.
By late afternoon, we were 600 strong, by the end of the weekend 1,000+ and today over 1,300. A community mobilized and ready to be of service.
Three women (two of whom I hadn’t previously known) stepped forward to help manage and moderate the group.
We have been working hard to keep the posts focused on requests for assistance, offers of assistance, and resources related to assistance. We have deleted a number of informative, comforting, or amusing posts – not because they weren’t worthy but because we worried they would drown out requests for and offers of assistance. I have written personal notes to every member whose posts I have deleted and I am grateful that with one maddening exception every response has been gracious and understanding.
If you’re local (and you haven’t already), I encourage you to join the South Portland Community of Kindness group. And if you’re not local and you want to start a similar group in your area, please be in touch. I would be happy to share with you the lessons we’ve learned in our first week.
80 days until the June 9th primary. What the election will look like is unknown. The Legislature has granted Governor Mills the power to take “any reasonable administrative actions” to facilitate voting for the June 9, 2020 primary elections, including conducting the election by absentee ballot.
In the meantime, I have temporarily suspended campaign activities in order to focus on community service.
Hugs, (aka Elbow Bump)
#hope #kindness #community
Campaign Diary #20 March 11, 2020 “Coronavirus"
The global impact of coronavirus COVID-19 is breathtaking. Lockdowns, quarantines, school shutdowns, event cancellations, supply chain disruption, market volatility, impending recession, fear, illness, and in some cases, sadly death. As of tonight, COVID-19 is affecting 119 countries and territories around the world. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ is a good site for world-wide statistical data.
I take comfort with how our state CDC has been responding and communicating with the public. They regularly update their webpage - https://www.maine.gov/…/infe…/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml. And that our major employers, healthcare system, and universities are all diligently preparing.
I have transitioned from handshakes to elbow bumps. I preface the action with “it’s what all the cool grownups are doing”! And of course, I have a travel bottle of hand sanitizer.
This week, the Legislature Appropriations Committee has scheduled working sessions on the supplemental budget. Governor Mills proposed $20 million for the state's "rainy day fund". Given the current economic climate, I want the Governor to be even more judicious. This morning, I sent her this message.
Thank you for including $20 million for the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) in your February 3, 2020 supplemental budget proposal. Unfortunately, much has changed in the past five weeks. The economic outlook on both the state and national level has gone from rosy to recession.
The uncertain impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 on our major industries – travel/tourism, education, and fishing should compel state leadership to reevaluate the budget and significantly increase the 2020 allocation to the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) aka "rainy day fund".
I recognize that reallocation is a difficult task as it will cause worthy programs to go underfunded or worse, unfunded. However, at its most fundamental, the responsibility of the government is to protect our most vulnerable populations. We have an unprecedented opportunity to be prepared to do so in difficult times.
I urge you, Senate President Jackson, House Speaker Gideon, and the Appropriations Committee to revisit the BSF allocation. Thank you.
South Portland, Maine
Pretty excited about this afternoon – I’m heading up to Augusta to turn in my ballot petition and officially GET ON THE BALLOT!
90 days until the June 9th primary. All is good. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
#sari2020 #elbowbump #washyourhands
Campaign Diary #19 March 5, 2020 "With Your Whole Heart"
When Senator Eloise Vitelli reflected on her campaigns with my Emerge 2020 cohort she said: “If you are going to run for office do it with your whole heart and be prepared to give it everything you’ve got”.
And that is exactly what I am doing. It has been a few weeks since I published a diary entry because I have been working at what it means to be a candidate, how to best structure my day, what I need to let go of, and when I need to ask for help. Okay, so that last one is definitely the hardest.
My days are filled with morning one–on-one conversations over coffee (I am a fixture at our wonderful local coffee shops – Rwanda Bean, Omi’s, CIA, Verbena, C-Salt), afternoon canvassing, evening house parties and meetings, and late evening thank you note writing.
In between, I am connecting with experts in multiple disciplines who are graciously giving of their time and educating me on the nuances of their subject matter.
The most challenging activity has been canvassing. I am an extrovert and can easily talk to almost anybody; yet knocking on a stranger’s door and engaging in a conversation does not come easy. Once the conversation starts, I’m off to the races but the first interaction can be awkward and sometimes a bit bumbling. I have literally thousands of doors to knock so I am optimistic that I will eventually perfect this art.
I spent Super Tuesday at polling places in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to talk with voters, answer their questions, and hear their ideas. And I had an opportunity to spend time with my primary opponents. Our paths crossed multiple times during the day and at one location, voters had an opportunity to chat with all three of us as we were situated right in a row!
The Sunday before the election, I found myself in Dr. Laura Blaisdell’s kitchen (I was out canvassing) while she was cooking. Laura is co-chair of Maine Families for Vaccines which is the grassroots, volunteer-led network that led the fight to keep Maine’s new vaccination law in place. The new law removes religious and philosophical exemptions while retaining medical exemptions. While this may sound benign, it evolved into a heated battle of public health vs. individual freedom. Public health won. Thank you, Dr. Blaisdell.
Next up is the Democratic caucuses on Sunday. We will have a table at the three caucuses in my district – South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and Scarborough staffed by volunteers. And I am poised to give 3 ½ minute speeches at each. I am excited about the opportunity to engage a core community of activist Democrats.
Successful campaigns are not about the candidate but about a team. I am so grateful to those who are helping build the Sari2020 Team and those who are on the team and give selflessly of their time. Consider this an open invitation to join the Sari2020 Team.
96 days until June 9th, 2020 Democratic Primary. All is good.
Thanks for reading.
Campaign Diary #18 February 10, 2020 “Vaccinations”
From now until March 3rd, every conversation I have will end with “VOTE NO on Question #1, please”.
A “no” vote keeps Maine’s strong public health vaccine law in place. Required vaccinations protect Maine children from eight deadly contagious diseases and prevent epidemics. A “yes” vote unwisely seeks to repeal this important law at a time when our state’s immunization rate is already dangerously low and the spread of some communicable diseases is on the rise.
According to the CDC, at an opt-out rate of 5.6%, Maine has the dubious distinction of being the seventh-worst state in the nation for vaccine coverage. The elementary school in my neighborhood has an opt-out rate of 5.9% (more than 3 times the national average) - making outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles, chickenpox, and pertussis more likely.
There is a lot of confusion about this referendum. The Yes on #1 Campaign is misleading. The tagline “Reject Big Pharma” is a red herring. The public health vaccine law has nothing to do with the cost of drugs, or anything else “big pharma” related. Period.
This has been a head-spinning few weeks – the Senate impeachment trial, the acquittal and vicious aftermath, the Iowa debacle, and the Coronavirus. But I’m not going to write about any of those today because I want our conversation to stay focused.
133 days until the June 9th, 2020 Democratic Primary. All is good. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
“VOTE NO on Question #1, please”.
PS Want more information? The folks at Suit Up Maine have created a great guide to help navigate the heated and sometimes confusing conversations about immunizations, the new law, and this referendum. https://www.suitupmaine.org/vaccine-guide/
Campaign Diary #17 January 28, 2020 "Girl Scout Cookies"
Doors, doors, doors is the conventional and the data-driven wisdom of how to win an election. For me, that means knocking on 4,322 doors of likely Democratic primary voters between now and early June.
I began that journey on Sunday. So, what have I learned so far?
• No one expects a candidate at their door in January.
• Carrying a clipboard makes you look suspicious.
• Dogs love me and cats are leery.
• A significant number of doorbells do not work,
• My coat needs deeper pockets.
There is a definite art to canvassing (that I have not yet perfected). Happily, I did have some meaningful conversation, 10 registered Democrats signed my ballot petition, AND I ordered five boxes of Girl Scout cookies!!
On Saturday, Jennifer and I attended the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (MAINE SDCC) candidate training. The sessions were all very good but really the best part was making personal connections.
The Maine Senate Democratic leadership participated and made us feel very welcome. That evening I commented to Eric how ordinary they all were; I mean that in the best sense of the word. Senators Jackson, Libby, and Vitelli are impressive, authentic, caring, and truly dedicated to “Fighting for Maine”.
Being in a primary poses some challenges. Because the Democratic Party (and others) takes a neutral stance, candidates do not get the same level of support and comradery. Honestly, it is a bit lonelier than I anticipated. I am so grateful to have a core team of friends and family by my side.
And of course, I would love to expand that team (even if you are not local) – so if you’re thinking …. Maybe I could …. Please know that your time and support will be received with gratitude. Politics is definitely a team sport.
Saturday is Winterfest here in South Portland (sponsored by the SoPo-CE Rotary). So many cool events for the whole family! From 2-4, you’ll find me at “Touch a Truck”.
133 days until the June 9th, 2020 Democratic Primary. All is good. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Campaign Diary #16 January 21, 2020
This past week, I participated in a series of events that put into focus how much “women of a certain age”. (And yes, I can use that term) are the driving force behind so many of our civic organizations and activities.
And before you think, it is because they have time on their hands; let me set the record straight. It is because they believe. They believe in a cause, they believe in our country, they believe in the power of the individual. They know that to do good – you have to show up.
And for many that conviction is borne of the Vietnam War trauma, the civil rights moment, the women’s rights moment, and the ongoing struggle for reproductive freedom, equal pay, and dignity. They have been marching their whole lives.
And if you have any doubt about their impact on the future “The path to victory for candidates in the 2020 elections will run through women age 50 and older, according to a new AARP poll that finds 95 percent of older women plan to cast a ballot in November.” I hope the generations of voters follow their footprints.
Today at the SMCC Swing Left voter registration drive, I had an opportunity to chat with immigrant students who hope to become citizens (and voters!). These young people are enthusiastically learning about our government, institutions, and quest for democracy.
In contrast, some non-immigrant students were not particularly interested in registering to vote. It brought to mind an interview I listened to last year with Justice Sonia Sotomayor. When I got home, I found the interview posted online.
Here is a snippet:
“Today, Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains, classroom time devoted to civics is at a historic low, and the impact is evident in declining civic participation from voting to volunteerism. There is a distinct correlation between civic knowledge and engagement. Students who receive a quality civic education, rooted in real-life experience, are more likely to become active citizens for life, and better students all around.”
When I was in high school we were required to take a semester-long civics class. My question to you is - should Maine high schools reinstate semester-long civic education?
Last night, I attended the MLK, Jr. dinner in Portland, organized by Portland Representative Rachel Talbot Ross. The format differed from other years. Instead of speeches lauding the gains of the civil rights movement – the program was intentionally educational.
Esteemed panelists worked to set the historical record straight regarding the Maine history of Indigenous and Black communities, provide a reality check of where we are now, (especially in the area of criminal justice), and help us understand where we go from here. The entire program ran the better part of 3.5 hours with a very short dinner break. It was exceptional.
One of my favorite campaign activities is having coffee with Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, and Scarborough residents; hearing their ideas for charting Maine’s future. If you would like to meet – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 207-318-1430.
140 days until the June 9th, 2020 Democratic Primary. All is good. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Campaign Diary #15 January 13, 2020
When I first contemplated this campaign, 2020 seemed very very far off. Now here we are. And it has been an exciting couple of weeks. Our first campaign press release was published both online and in print, received ballot petitions from the Secretary of State’s office and have begun the process of collecting signatures, filed our first campaign finance report, “cut turf” (which means planning which households to canvass), completed palm card designs, had productive committee meetings, and enjoyed the company of volunteers while we addressed hundreds of envelopes.
The 2020 Legislative calendar has been published. I am looking forward to spending time in Augusta this winter listening to and contributing to the work of the IDEA Committee (Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement & Business Committee). You can find the complete calendar of public hearings and work sessions
And mark your calendars for the January 18th Women's March being held throughout the United States. I am volunteering as a safety marshal at the Portland event. Join me. FMI: https://actionnetwork.org/…/we-demand-portland-maine-womens…
So, a couple of things did not go so well this past week and I learned some important lessons.
First lesson, you can never start asking for support too early. I have to admit that I received this advice back in the summer and I dismissed it. I thought “Well, let’s let folks focus on the November election and then enjoy the holiday season. We’ll talk politics in January”. This past week, I had coffee with a woman whom I admire and whose politics align closely with mine. She shared that she wished we had met earlier as she and her husband were approached in the fall by one of my primary opponents and had committed to that campaign. Lesson learned – ask early.
Second lesson; always be prepared to give a brief speech. Last week, I went to a local Democratic Committee meeting to listen to the speakers and collect ballot petition signatures. I had not anticipated that the Chair would call on all the candidates in attendance and give them the floor. I was not mentally prepared to give a campaign speech and gave a somewhat rambling introduction and then (because Iran was at that moment launching missiles at US bases), launched into a cybersecurity/national security lesson about the role we each play in mitigating cyberterrorism. Seriously, that’s what I did. Undoubtedly, important information but probably not what the group wanted to hear. Lesson learned – always be ready and stay on topic.
Lessons learned; moving on. I expect that as a first-time candidate, I’ll make others. I truly love the campaign process and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to listen, to learn, and to contribute.
The campaign team is busy building out our 2020 plan which includes canvassing, house parties, and engaging events, And of course, continuing to fundraise (yes, I hit my Q4 2019 goal!).
How can you help me win the June 9th primary?
• Let me know about community and neighborhood events
• Host a house party to introduce me to family and friends
• Canvass with me (you'll get a Sari2020 warm hat!)
• Volunteer for our Events Committee
• Endorse me
• Share my posts
152 days until June 9, 2020. All is good. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Campaign Diary #14 January 5, 2020
This has been an unsettling week, to say the least. General Suleimani was a ruthless murder and terrorist; I do not mourn his death.
Nevertheless, the potential ramifications of his assassination are chilling. As Susan Rice writes in today’s New York Times, “One thing is clear after the killing of Iran’s second most important official: Americans are not safer. Americans would be wise to brace for war with Iran.”
I fervently hope that an escalation of conflict can be avoided, but I have little confidence that the Republicans in Washington will reign in President Trump. If you haven’t already, please contact Sen. Collins’ office (202-224-2523) and voice your opinion.
Here in the United States, we should be paying very close attention to our cybersecurity infrastructure. The Iranians have practiced cyber warfare attack and disruption capabilities.
Without even knowing it, you could unwittingly assist the attackers.
A majority of successful attacks begin with a social engineering email or phone call. In our interconnected world, ALL of us must have our guard up at work and at home.
Don’t click on email links, don’t open that unexpected attachment (even if it is from someone you know), don’t respond to a website popup, be wary of social media friend requests, and if you receive an unsolicited phone call, don’t follow instructions. Make sure that your antivirus is up-to-date and that your devices are fully patched.
If you need help with any of this or have any questions, please call or text me at 207-318-1430. Cybersecurity is my area of expertise.
Wondering what’s happening with the campaign?
I am happy to report that I hit my Q4 fundraising goal, the House Party Host Committee is moving full steam ahead, and I went to LL Bean’s and bought a coat worthy of winter canvassing! My goal is to visit 4,322 homes between now and June 9th.
156 days until June 9, 2020. Give me a shout if you’d like to canvass with me. If you do, you’ll get a very stylish and warm Sari2020 fleece cap.
Campaign Diary #13 December 30, 2019
This past week we celebrated Hanukah. I have always loved this holiday. Lighting candles in the darkest time of year and retelling the story of overcoming tyranny is uplifting and this year, particularly poignant. Senseless acts of anti-Semitic violence are on the rise here in America and globally. The hate is palatable and frightening.
Jews are not alone in being targeted. The Muslim community, the LGBTQ+ community. immigrant communities and communities of Color are all frequent targets; singled out as “the other”, “the troublemaker”, “the ones who steal our jobs” and “threatens our way of life”. This is unconscionable.
I’m angry. I’m angry that the President’s rhetoric has inflamed hatred. I’m angry that acts of violence and hate speech have become normalized. I’m angry that those in power refuse to speak up – afraid of upsetting their base. This is not how a Democracy is supposed to function.
I’m hopeful. Listening to Jews speak out gives me hope, reading posts by allies gives me hope, the Democratic candidates for President give me hope. Here in Maine, the Mills administration fuels my hope for Maine’s and our country’s future.
For eight years, we endured the hateful discourse and ideology of the LaPage era. Some days it felt like we were mired in an environment of mistrust from which we might never emerge. But we did.
When Gov. Mills took office, one could almost feel a collective sigh of relief. Certainly, not everyone agrees with her politics but we can all agree that her style of governing is positive and healthy. If the change in Maine is a harbinger, then positive change everywhere is possible.
Over the next five months, I hope to earn the vote of the Democrats in my district. With all my heart, I can pledge to them that I will muster the courage to speak up even when it is unpopular to do so. That is how Democracy is supposed to function.
I’m hopeful that 2020 will be a year of renewal and grace.
162 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. Next week, I start canvassing. Give me a shout if you'd like to join me. I'd love to have you by my side
Campaign Diary #12 December 22, 2019
I am by nature, curious, and a note-taker. As I flip through my notebooks. I am astounded by the opportunity that running for office has given me to have conversations with so many different people (who serve the state in a variety of capacities) and ask them questions about their work, their goals, and their aspirations. I am beyond grateful for their time and openness.
One of the highlights of this week was going to the Maine Democratic Blue Wave Gala in the company of Emerge Maine sisters. If you’re a woman and thinking about running for office or working on a campaign – give me a shout. I’d love to talk to you about this program. The program is well organized and the leadership topnotch. I applied because I wanted to learn the mechanics of running a campaign (which I have). Honestly, what I didn’t expect was the kinship and support that has emerged (pun intended) within the 2020 cohort and with Alumni.
The Gala featured speakers were the US Senatorial primary candidates and Governor Janet Mills. I have to admit that Governor Mills is my hero. I appreciate her pragmatic approach to governance. Specifically, the need for long-term strategic planning instead of piece-meal legislation. If I win, I have my sights set on the IDEA+B Committee (Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business). This is the committee that is tasked with transforming the 10 Year Economic Strategic Development Plan recommendations into legislative implementation. Right up my alley!!
This week I celebrated an anniversary of sorts. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with early-stage ovarian cancer. Today, I am cancer-free. I seldom talk about it. I don’t think of myself as a cancer survivor rather as a recipient of excellent medical care. Ovarian cancer is often caught too late. I was fortunate to have good insurance and a Nurse Practitioner who listened intently to my seemingly vague symptoms and worked hard to figure out what was going on. For too many women, the story ends differently. Without insurance, without access – early diagnosis and treatment doesn’t happen. I’m not sure that Medicare for All is the answer but I am damn sure that everyone deserves affordable access and that healthcare professionals should not be dictated to by for-profit insurance companies. This is a solvable problem.
Tonight, we light the first Hanukkah candle. Whatever your celebration, I wish you a joyous holiday filled with laughter and good memories.
170 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. Working on my palm cards. All is good.
Campaign Diary #11 December 15, 2019
"You must unite behind the science. You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up can never ever be an option." – Greta Thunberg to the US Congress, Washington DC, 17 September 2019.
This week Greta Thunberg was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. I've been thinking about her a lot and how much of a difference one person can make.
Here locally, climate action is being taken. The cities of South Portland and Portland have joined forces and together launched the One Climate Future Initiative. One Climate Future is a joint planning process to ensure that we reduce our contribution to the intensity of climate change AND adapt to the changes we can anticipate including more rainfall and less snow, increasing temperatures, ocean acidification, and sea level rise.
The One Climate Future vision statement reads – “Together, Portland and South Portland work to be inclusive vibrant communities that provide opportunities for residents and businesses to thrive in a changing climate”. The plan addresses four areas; building and energy use, transportation and land use, waste reduction, and climate resilience.
This is truly a groundbreaking initiative. You can learn more at www.oneclimatefuture.org. If you live locally, I encourage you to participate in their FREE Lunch & Learn series. You can register on their website site for:
• Equity in Sustainability – January 17, 2020
• Resilience Strategies – February 14, 2020
• Mitigation Strategies – March 20,2010
I have been to the first three Lunch & Learns and they have been educational and inspiring. At last Friday’s session, the Sustainability Coordinators presented a preview of the recently completed Climate Vulnerability Assessment. The full report is scheduled to be released in Q1 2020.
I recently saw a meme that read “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Now is the time for climate action. We must demand that all levels of government work together. And as individuals, we all need to determine what individual actions we can take.
From a campaign perspective, I am going to focus on reuse and reducing our carbon footprint. And to use recycled materials whenever possible. I welcome your ideas.
This Wednesday is the Maine Democratic Party's BLUE GALA. The invitation says to wear blue. In keeping with the "reuse" theme, I will be wearing a dress that I bought 20 years ago (for my campaign manager Jennifer Fadiman's wedding)!
177 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Campaign Diary #10 December 12, 2019
On Sunday, we collected > 200 pounds of holiday food for the South Portland Food Cupboard. The Food Cupboard serves all of Cumberland County and as you can imagine this is a very stressful time of year for those they serve. They are a great organization and if you are considering making financial or time gifts, please consider them. http://southportlandfoodcupboard.org/
The “official” campaign kickoff went really well. We had a warm and enthusiastic crowd, delicious Scratch bagels, and wonderful weather. Jennifer Fadiman and John Rogers did a great job organizing and managing the event. And as odd as it may sound, for me, it made the campaign REAL! My Emerge sister Alyssa , did a great job covering my speech for Facebook “Live”. And did I mention, that yup, I got everyone to SING!
Writing the speech was intense. Trying to distill everything I wanted to say to 5-7 minutes felt like an impossible task. From years in the tech corporate world – I’m used to being a fast fact-based communicator with lots of detail. Experts advise painting a picture, telling a story. The challenge for me was figuring out what stories were relevant, what would connect with the listener, what sounded authentic, not contrived and how to slow down.
My first version took days to write. Jennifer’s response to my “finished” (little did I know!) version was it was way too long, too detailed, and frankly dull. Back to the drawing board. My next version was much shorter and less detailed. In fact, I named the file “friendly version. doc”. Ha!
On Saturday, I shared it with my Emerge 2020 cohort. Too long, too detailed, not personal enough…. They were so gracious with their time encouraging me to make changes, critiquing those changes, and getting me to own my words. I like the outcome. There are more edits to be made, but I do believe it captured my heart.
What’s on tap for this week (given it is already Wednesday)? Fundraising! We file our first campaign report in 21 days and I want to visibly demonstrate the early support this campaign has.
It’s easy to make a campaign gift online via ActBlue at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari-for-maine-senate-1.
And if you’re local and don’t have your Christmas tree yet – come by Mill Creek Park in SoPo for a great selection of trees brought to you by the South Portland Cape Elizabeth Rotary club – all proceeds go to charity. I’ll be there on Saturday from 9-12 and from 3-6.
181 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Campaign Diary #9 December 03. 2019
This past week was a whirlwind of activity – Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and getting ready to host my Holiday Food Drive & Campaign Launch on Sunday, December 8th!
In the spirit of transparency, I must admit that I am stressing over attendance. In hindsight, perhaps I should have requested RSVPs. I didn’t because I wanted an open community atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable just arriving without any fuss. Honestly, I have no idea if we’ll have 10 or 100. What I do know is there will be plenty of bagels, coffee, music, and camaraderie. I do hope you’ll join us (and bring along family and friends).
Together, we can honor the South Portland Food Cupboards motto of “neighbors helping neighbors” by making sure that all families have a joyful holiday meal. Especially needed is cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, gravy, and pumpkin pie filling. Dwayne Hopkins, Executive Director of the Food Cupboard will be on hand to talk about their mission and ways to be of service.
Here are the details:
What: Holiday Food Drive and Campaign Kick-off
When: Sunday December 8th at 11 am
Where: The Boathouse at Port Harbor Marine in South Portland (plenty of free parking).
Questions: Call or text me at 207-318-1430 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier today, I attended the South Portland City Council and School Board inauguration. The Council Chamber was packed – it was standing room only. It was great to see so many young children in attendance. Our new Mayor, Kate Lewis connected well with the audience. She was poised, authentic, and thoughtful. I don’t always agree with her – especially in areas related to economic development but I believe she will govern well.
I was pleased to hear her talk about the importance of communication and coordination between the various levels of government. Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to chat with two of SoPo's former Mayors, and both expressed frustration with the disconnect between elected city and state officials. I can't speak to what happens behind the scene but I am continually amazed at how infrequently our legislators attend important Council meetings.
If elected, I intend to serve as a conduit between local government and Augusta; to ensure that we work together to achieve our common goals.
To get elected, I need to stay focused, work hard, forge connections, listen and learn. And to ask for contributions to run a campaign. So if you're so inclined please go to - https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari
189 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Campaign Diary #8 November 24, 2019
Two weeks from today, Sunday December 8th, is our official campaign kickoff. A central theme of my campaign is Community and what we can achieve when We Work Together. It is more than fitting that our first community event is a Holiday Food Drive to benefit the SoPo Food Cupboard. Executive Director Dwayne Hopkins will be on hand to talk about their mission and how you can get involved. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit their website @ http://southportlandfoodcupboard.org/
I really really hope we collect tons of food items. It is a busy time of year and I must admit to being a tad nervous about the turnout. Please consider yourself invited and pass along the invite to everyone you know.
One of the ways we have been promoting the Kickoff is through Facebook starting with the usual methods of creating an event, sharing it like crazy, and cross-posting in South Portland, Cape and Scarborough related groups.
The new adventure was becoming authorized by Facebook to have “sponsored” (read as paid) political posts that they place based in agreed up criteria. In the wake of election disinformation campaigns they have put in place relatively strict policies. I needed to complete an application, have my identification verified, have my webpage and email verified, have my physical address verified, and have an approved disclosure statement. I hope you see the event post and “LIKE” (or “LOVE”) it!
The highlight of my week was getting to spend time with Gov. Janet Mills. Tuesday morning, the Governor visited the new Bangor Savings Bank waterfront campus. CEO Bob Montgomery-Rice and I (I serve on the Board of Directors) had the opportunity to chat with her about a variety of topics including economic development, solar energy, supporting community organizations, and diversity.
And then to my delight, she invited me to join her for lunch at Bagel Central where she was meeting with three newly elected officials - Angela Okafor (a Bangor City Councilor), Tania Jean-Jaques (a Hampden School Board member) and my dear friend and EmergeMaine sister, Marwa Hassanien (a Bangor School Board member). Their enthusiasm, passion, and genuine excitement was infectious.
As we head into Thanksgiving, I am grateful for so many things including family, friends, community, and the courage of four women - Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Jennifer Williams, Laura Cooper, and Fiona Hill who chose to put service to country above everything else.
198 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is always a seat at our table if you’d like to join us.
Campaign Diary #7 November 18, 2019
Friday night, a friend grabbed my hand, walked me around a room full of people, and said: “This is Sari Greene, she is running for office, I support her and you should too.”
I am so grateful. Early supporters are the foundation of a campaign. For me, they are a source of strength; providing inspiration and motivation. Knowing that I have friends and family in my corner means the world to me. So, if you’re thinking about getting involved, there is no better time than now. There are so many ways to be engaged.
• Share my posts with your network
• Host a House Party (it’s easy)
• Join our planning committee
• Come canvass with me (starting January, brrr)
• Introduce me to your friends
• Invite me to tag along to an event
• Address postcards
• Create social media content
• Donate at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari
Interested? Please reach out – call or text me at 207-318-1430, email me email@example.com, FB message me or comment below. I’d be honored to have you on the Sari 2020 team.
What else happened this week? Well, I met Governor Brennan, attended a moving tribute to George Campbell at the Irish Heritage Center, had a successful inaugural House Party Host Committee meeting, participated in a fantastic Emerge Maine training session which included role-playing with the amazing Governor Mills, completed the first draft of our campaign strategy document, immersed myself in learning about housing challenges and proposed solutions, and caught up on my fundraising goals. Whew!
Mark your calendar for our December 8th Campaign Kickoff & Holiday Food Drive to benefit the South Portland Food Cupboard. We are collecting canned cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing mix, and pumpkin pie filling. I hope you’ll join us at 11am for coffee, bagels, and community conversation. And the premier of our campaign song. Yup, you heard that right. Campaign Song 🙂
205 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good. Hope to hear from you.
Campaign Diary #6 November 10, 2019
Sitting at JFK airport waiting to board a 11pm flight home; reflecting on a productive week with one notable exception.
What didn’t I accomplish? I missed my weekly fundraising goal. How come? I can hear Ashley whispering in my ear “It’s because you didn’t ask!” This week, I resolve to ask. Of course, unsolicited campaign contributions and pledges are always welcome and received with gratitude. [https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari]
What did I accomplish? I voted, cheered on candidates, celebrated the SoPo Middle School building project bond, meet with a healthcare expert to better understand the history of insurance, hospital payments and MaineCare spanning multiple administrations, studied the impact of AI & the promise of the 4th industrial revolution*, had multiple cups of coffee with supporters, meet with the campaign team to plan our Dec 8th campaign kickoff, confirmed our House Party Host Committee, white boarded ideas for Q1 and Q2 events, and worked on campaign literature.
Tomorrow, November 11th, we pause to honor all our military Veterans. My dad served in Italy in WWII. Eric’s dad served in Korea. Neither spoke about it. I wish we had asked. To those of you who served, serve, or support - thank you. You make democracy possible.
212 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Thanks for reading,
* Great book on the subject of Artificial Intelligence “Human + Machine. Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” by Daugherty and Wilson
Campaign Diary # 5 November 4, 2019
Slow down. Talk less. Pause more often. Learn to be quiet. These are the skills I am practicing. Those of you who know me well must be chuckling and thinking to yourself “good luck with that one”. I’d like to think that I am a pretty good listener. But there is no denying that I am an enthusiastic talker, especially about topics that I am passionate about (or for which I have a strong opinion).
Strong opinions bring me to the topic of vaccinations. Vaccines save lives. They have eradicated deadly diseases, they protect future generations, and they are a public health imperative.
I support Maine’s new legislation that removes all non-medical vaccination exemptions for children attending public schools. In March, there will be a referendum vote to repeal this vital public health and safety legislation. I plan to spend the winter talking about why vaccines are so important.
On a positive note, I am happy to report that I met last week's fundraising goal. Thank you to all who contributed. My goal this week is $500. Early supporters make such a difference. It’s easy to contribute @ https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari
Tuesday is election day. I love voting. Always have. There is something special about going to your local polling place, stepping into the booth, marking your ballot and then proudly wearing your "I Voted Today" sticker. And yes, I stay up late listening to the results.
Please mark your calendars for Sunday, December 8th at 11am for our official campaign launch bagel brunch. Details to follow very soon!
218 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Thanks for reading,
Campaign Diary #4 October 28. 2019
Someone told me last week that publishing a Campaign Diary is a bad idea. Why? Because a candidate’s public persona should be strong, positive, polished and that opponents will exploit any sign of weakness. I am a first-time candidate and admittedly have a lot to learn but my instinct is that being true to who you are, being honest, and being transparent is appreciated. I am curious, what do you think?
This is the Maine Constitution’s bicentennial year and on Monday evening, I attended a talk about the making of the Constitution at the very place where it happened 200 years ago – the historic First Parish UU Church in Portland. And, the icing on the cake was that I got to meet Mary Bonauto and Anne Gass. Mary was the lead counsel in the case that resulted in MA being the first state in which same-sex couples could marry (2004). And in 2015, she successfully argued before the US Supreme Court that state bans against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. This landmark civil rights case established same-sex marriage in every state and US territory. Anne is the author of “Voting Down the Rose – Maine’s Fight for Women’s Suffrage”. A great book to read as we celebrate the centennial of women getting the right to vote in Maine. Check the schedule of centennial events in Maine here: https://www.mainesuffragecentennial.org/events
Tuesday, I was thrilled to welcome aboard John Rogers as our Campaign Events Manager. John joins our stellar team of Campaign Manager Jennifer Fadiman and Treasurer Eric Boutiette. We’re currently in the process of forming our House Party Host Committee and are on the hunt for a Canvass Volunteer Coordinator. I anticipate a very competitive primary and I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to reach as many voters as possible. There are lots of ways you can volunteer! We’re planning a December 8th campaign kick-off event. Stay tuned for details.
Saturday was an inspiring day of training sponsored by the National Democratic Training Committee. Almost 100 Maine Dems attended including community activists, campaign staff, and candidates. My group included candidates for the Maine House, Maine Senate, and a variety of municipal positions. Even direct competitors lifted each other up. A highlight of the day for me was listening to Sammi Brown, Delegate from West Virginia, talk about her House race and being drawn in by her delightfully sassy attitude. If you want to watch a rising star, you can follow her on Twitter @SeeSammiRun.
Last week, I promised to talk campaign financing - so here goes. I am running a traditionally financed campaign. The last three D29 Democratic Senate campaigns cost around $29K each. However, this was for an incumbent who did not have to invest in a primary campaign. I anticipate the primary adds $15k-$20k. So that means my fundraising target (assuming I win the primary) is $50k. My goal is to raise $10k by end of Q4 2019, another $10K by the end of Q1 2020, another $10K by the end of Q2 2020, and assuming I win the primary another $20K by election day.
Individual contribution limits are $400 per person for the primary and $400 for the general election (total of $800 per person). Starting this week, I am going to be a disciplined fundraiser. I am so appreciative of my early supporters who have already contributed. Want to contribute? It’s easy. You can send a check or donate via ActBlue at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sari-for-maine-senate-1.
This coming week is more listening, learning, and yes, fundraising! And, on Friday, Eric & I are starting Pickleball lessons at the SoPo Redbank Community Center.
225 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good.
Thanks for reading.
Campaign Diary #3 October 21, 2019
The beginning of the week found us in Annapolis, MD for our annual boat show pilgrimage.
The latter part of the week was a whirlwind of activity. I am so grateful for how generous public officials and community activists have been with their time. Over the course of 72 hours, I meet with three state Representatives, two Senators, a City Councilor, two former Mayors, and even a former Governor. Each graciously shared their insights. Some pledged their support, some are determined to remain neutral during the primary, and a few have committed to support one of my opponents. I appreciated their forthrightness. And most importantly, I’m happy to have established a dialogue.
Wednesday night, I attended the South Portland Land Trust City Council Candidate Forum. SoPo has five candidates running for two at-large seats. I’ve watched many debates as a supporter; cheering on my candidate. This one was different. I processed each question as if it was being asked of me. Some of the questions seemed to be designed to elicit support for a specific position. And as I watched the candidates vigorously nodding their heads in support and try to outdo each other in their enthusiasm, I hoped that in the same situation, I won’t get caught up in the moment. That I will be more measured in my response, even dissent when necessary.
And then the storm hit, trees came down, and the power went out. To my delight, only one of my Thursday meet-ups rescheduled. A full day of coffee and conversation. Thursday evening, I was a guest at the 10th Annual Cybercrime Symposium (my first year not chairing). It was great catching up with colleagues and I shamelessly cajoled campaign donations and volunteers!
Friday, I participated in the Maine Bankers Association Director’s College in Augusta. This semi-annual program is held in conjunction with the FDIC. It was very interesting listening to the regulators discuss and answer questions about how to reconcile state and federal cannabis laws in relation to banking and credit. Marijuana is legal in Maine but not at the federal level. This is a real problem, but one that Washington isn’t in any hurry to fix. The last speaker of the day addressed the economic outlook. Maine’s growth lags the nation. The primary driver is workforce-related. We have very low unemployment and too many jobs (skilled and unskilled) are going unfilled. The long term outlook is grim when you factor in Maine’s aging population and low birthrate. The prosperity of our state requires that we attract and welcome newcomers of all skill levels.
Saturday, I was in Bangor for the second session of the Emerge 2020 training. The highlight of the day for me was discussions around structuring a campaign and budgeting. Next week, I’ll share my budget and fundraising goals with you.
This morning (Sunday) was spent with my Campaign Coordinator/Best Friend/Trusted Advisor/Spreadsheet Wiz crunching numbers and analyzing data related to registered voters, election turnout by ward/neighborhood/districts, and WIN numbers.
Late afternoon, Eric and I attended a fundraiser graciously hosted by SoPo Cottage (if you like architecture and/or home renovations – definitely check out their blog at sopocottage.com) for the South Portland Food Cupboard. We were reminded that one in five children in Maine (including Cumberland County) are subject to food insecurity. This is unacceptable. No child should ever go hungry. I encourage you to learn more about their good work at southportlandfoodcupboard.org.
This coming week is more listening, learning and yes, fundraising!
232 day to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good. Thanks for reading.
Campaign Diary #2 October 14, 2019
This Sunday finds us in Annapolis for the long weekend. At home in Maine, Monday will be our first Indigenous Peoples Day. According to Maine Public “Maine and Vermont joined a growing number of states and municipalities... replacing Columbus Day with holidays honoring Native Americans. South Dakota adopted the first such change in 1990, calling it Native American Day.” I am sorry that we are missing Monday’s Indigenous Peoples Day Gathering at the Maine Historical Society 489 Congress St, Portland Maine from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m
In addition to observing the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), this past week has been focused on meeting with past and present elected representatives and civic leaders. Most have been welcoming, open, and very interesting. There have been a few who pointedly told me that I haven’t yet “paid my dues”. My respectful response is while it is true that I haven’t been actively engaged in politics, what I have been doing is actually creating jobs, protecting citizens, and educating professionals. All skills that I intend to put to work in Augusta.
I am processing all the advice that I am receiving about campaign strategy. The advice runs the gamut from being a 100% data driven to just get out there and knock on doors. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.
We are actively interviewing campaign managers. Good chemistry is important; good instincts and experience even more so. I am new to this process so I want to work with someone who won’t hesitate to tell me what is non-negotiable. Of course, the challenge for campaign managers at the state/local level is that this is part-time employment for what is often a full-time job. As a party, I wonder how we can best integrate our living wage and healthcare values with a role that seems to be historically undervalued.
The plan for this coming week is to continue to reach out, to listen, to learn, to study, to recruit volunteers, and to raise campaign funds. And next weekend, I will be in Bangor for the second Emerge 2020 session on Saturday and on Sunday campaigning for my friend Marwa Hassanien who is running for Bangor School Committee.
240 days to go until the June 9, 2020 primary. All is good. Thanks for reading.
Campaign Diary #1 October 05, 2019
The most frequent question I am asked is “Why are you running?”. I am extremely grateful that a close second is “How can I help?”. The third and most unexpected question is “What is it like to start/run a campaign?”.
As a way to answer the third question, beginning today I will be posting a campaign diary every Sunday. This will be an unfiltered window into the campaign process – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the astonishing. So here goes… Welcome to my Campaign Diary.
Okay, so I must admit that starting a campaign diary is a bit unsettling; but then so is starting a campaign. The best advice I’ve received so far is to “Campaign in Poetry, Govern in Prose” (attributed to Mario Cuomo). Easier said than done.
Everyone has a seminal reason for running – mine, is because I am astounded how few legislators are talking about (much less taking action) what I see as the most urgent situation this state is facing – the combination of an aging population and minimal population growth.
To put it in perspective - it is projected that Maine's population will peak in 2020 and then begin to decline. And the age composition in the state will change dramatically by 2030 – far fewer young people and a significant increase in older (over 65) residents. The dual impact is a shrinking tax base and an increasing need for services. Less and less tax revenue means that every worthy program will ultimately be underfunded or even go unfunded. This is a situation that we cannot (must not) tax our way out of. Instead, we need to increase revenue by making Maine an attractive place to invest – whether than means starting a business, expanding a business or relocating a business. And we need to make sure that business can find the workers they need to thrive. And that those workers have good-paying jobs and long term career prospects. I want Maine to be the place people want to move to.
If you’re still reading, you're probably thinking “well, that paragraph was not very poetic”. So challenge #1, turning a paragraph into a message. Hit me up if you’ve been inspired to come up with a slogan.
Aside from messaging, this week has been about launching version 1 of our website, working on a digital outreach strategy, reaching out to friends, family, colleagues to let them know I am running, and of course, fundraising. As one of my mentors is fond of saying, “every week will be about fundraising”.
Not every day is about the campaign. This morning I had the pleasure of standing outside of Scratch, one of my favorite local bakeries, distributing information about the South Portland Middle School Building Project. It is really an amazing project and one that I hope voters overwhelmingly approve on November 5th. FMI: https://www.spsd.org/district/middle-school-project
The plan for this coming week to continue to reach out, to study, to listen, to learn, and to recruit volunteers (like you!).
247 days until the June 9th Primary. All is good. Thanks for reading.
“ This will be an unfiltered window into the campaign process – the good, the bad, and everything in between. So here goes… Welcome to my Campaign Diary. ”