Guest blog post from campaign staffer Felix, who moved all the way from England to help get Jerry elected. Felix is impressed by the unique sense of pride he has experienced from the plethora of Californians he’s met.
Labor Day has long been the traditional launching date for gubernatorial campaigns. This year, however, we have seen continual campaigning through the primary and the early summer months. A lot of the coverage has focused on the negative; unemployment, immigration, and civil corruption have dominated the political news cycle, making California’s future seem bleak.
While working for Jerry, I have developed a very different forecast for California than joblessness, environmental decay, and political detachment. Being involved with this campaign has shown me that, more than in any other state, Californians love their state. They do not only care about their own jobs and welfare, but those of their neighbors, too.
There are definitely benefits in having hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on your campaign. But the most obvious advantage from not spending huge sums is that Jerry has been forced to rely predominantly on volunteer workers, and as a result, we’ve ended up with a staff of ‘state-triots’.
Even in the Oakland office, the vast majority of staffers are unpaid; some have left promising careers in the worlds’ most successful companies, some have delayed taking college courses, others have come out of retirement, but everyone is highly skilled, and everybody loves their state. We are working because of a firmly held belief that Jerry Brown can and will allow California to flourish once more.
I have spent most of my time on the campaign working with the county volunteer coordinators (also unpaid). Those we have selected for the job come from all walks of life, but not a single one isn’t passionate about California and about Jerry, proving our ‘state-triotism’ is by no means confined to the foggy Bay Area. Volunteer coordinators from Imperial County to Humboldt have begun to organize events across the Golden State, everyone firm in their conviction that Jerry Brown “has to be the governor!” once again.
Every day our email inboxes are filled with offers to volunteer, we get tweets and Facebook posts of support, and we receive dozens of phone calls “just to say that I love Jerry Brown.” These messages come from people who realize that Jerry eats, lives, and breathes California. They’re desperate to work with him and get this state back on the right track. And we haven’t even hit Labor Day yet!
Being part of a campaign with a mainly volunteer staff has completely contradicted the warnings I was given by family and friends about embarking on a career in politics. The people and politicians I have met are not motivated out of a lust for power, nor have they compromised their ideals. Rather, young professionals babysit, prominent politicians work two jobs, and college graduates walk dogs, all with two inherently linked objectives to elect Jerry Brown and to better California.
Far from being out-performed by Whitman’s goliath campaign, Jerry Brown has shown us how a campaign should run — people of all ages working together to elect a politician whose passion seems to be timeless.
My prediction for the future of California is not based on the outsourcing, the furloughs, and the swollen political wages of the past decade. It comes from the hard-working, enthusiastic, and qualified people that I have met on this campaign so far. If given the opportunity, these people will work for California not only to get it working again, but to make it work better than ever before.