Category Archives: In the Field

Ode To Our Volunteers

Special Election Day blog post from Schuyler, the leader of our statewide volunteer effort. Our campaign would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of our amazing volunteers, and for that, we can’t thank you enough!

What seems simultaneously like it was yesterday and an eternity ago, we embarked on a campaign to elect Jerry Brown as the next Governor of the State of California.

From the beginning, we knew the financial resources of our opponent would be unmatchable. With this understanding, built a campaign based on the passionate dedication of volunteers across the state.

I began reaching out to communities throughout California to find leaders willing and able to take on an ambitious task: lead their local countywide field effort to elect Jerry, and do it as a volunteer. It takes a special individual to take on such a challenging job, but it’s those same qualifications that bring out the most altruistic and hard-working people.

Our strategy was to not create entirely new systems and networks just for this campaign. We firmly believe each community already has its strong Democratic organizations, and if we could plug into those groups, we would help build up already-existing networks. Our goal was to find the strongest local Democratic contingents and use their resources to support our grassroots campaign.

We spoke with Democratic Central Committee leadership throughout the state, talked to local Democratic groups, and interviewed lots of strong candidates, quickly building a statewide operation run entirely by volunteers.

Many of the people we selected to spearhead our local countywide campaigns have been community organizers since Jerry began his career, while others have only just begun to engage in local organizing. In some counties, we matched recent college graduates with veteran organizers so that their unique skill sets would complement one another.

As our County Coordinators were appointed, they began to build upon their local political infrastructure. We equipped our volunteers with materials, ideas, and resources from the campaign to help them succeed and sent them lists of volunteers in their area who had signed up on our website so they could fold them into local organizing efforts and build deeper support for Democrats throughout their region.

Our volunteers have exceeded our expectations at every turn. We have people who quit their jobs to work full-time for the campaign in their county, and others who are casualties of the market downturn and lost their jobs yet spend their time volunteering for Jerry, driven by their faith that he will restore the California Dream. Some volunteers have homes in foreclosure and still use their spare time to fight to get California back on track under Jerry’s leadership.

There are so many exceptional volunteers throughout that state, and to mention any by name would be to omit too many others. However, I hope that I can convey the gratitude and respect that I, the campaign staff, and especially Jerry feel for their immeasurable contribution to our effort. Whether they worked one or 100 hours, we couldn’t have done this without them.

Although I was born and raised here, my work with leaders and community members throughout the state has given me a deeper love and respect for Californians. The passion our volunteers brought to every task we assigned, the dedication they showed to our campaign, and the infinite belief they have in Jerry to lead our state back from the brink continue to amaze me.

So this is our small thank you to our volunteers throughout the state, from whom we draw inspiration on a daily basis. During each conversation I have with a supporter, every phone bank I visit, and at the rallies across California, the enthusiasm our volunteers exhibit encourages me—not only about not this election, but about the future of our state.


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A Weekend In Eureka

Guest post from staffer Victoria Hassid, who spent the weekend in Eureka preparing for Jerry’s sixth stop on his statewide tour. Thanks to everyone who came out to our events and helped make Jerry’s final campaign push a huge success!

I started planning my Halloween costume around mid-July; I kid you not.  I love Halloween—I often see it as the ultimate holiday of fun, jokingly calling it the “single person’s Super Bowl.”

But costumes, parties and trick or treating were far from my mind this weekend as I hunkered down in Humboldt County for three days with colleague Sarah in preparation for Jerry’s visit as part of his 12-city statewide blitz.

Neither Sarah nor I had ever been to Eureka, let alone advanced an event for Jerry completely on our own.  We were excited, nervous and unsure what to expect.  No amount of experience, however, could have prepared me for the energy, passion and excitement Humboldt County holds for Jerry.

From the minute we hit the ground, we were met with open arms as people from all over both Humboldt County and northern Del Norte County gathered to help give Jerry a warm welcome.  We drove up and down 101, meeting volunteers eager to donate their time, money, and resources to make sure Jerry felt the love.

Supporters started lining up in the dark at 6 am Sunday morning outside the historic Samoa Cookhouse, the longest continuously running, (and last surviving) logger chowhouse. As locals from across the area, some as far as two hours north, filled the restaurant, wafts of syrup, sausage and French toast began filling the air.

The anticipation was high as everyone waited for Jerry’s arrival; the energy palpable.  As soon as our candidate walked in, everyone immediately stood to their feet.  The crowd was electric.

Before long, Jerry hopped on a small riser, surrounded by supporters. The crowd hung onto his every word.

While joking that he “wasn’t quite awake yet,” he easily discussed his California roots, his love for the North Coast, and why we still needed to move forward on thoughtful environmental policy—a fact hardly lost amidst the one of California’s most gorgeous stretches of coastline.

Our weekend in Eureka combined with Jerry’s remarks reminded me yet again why this election is so important.  All weekend, we met people who will rely on our next governor for jobs, to save our environment, to get our state back on track.  We all know that only Jerry can get this done.

And while he reminded us that we have tough decisions ahead, that it will not always be easy, he also gave us hope. Hope that California’s recent struggles would serve to provide lessons on how we can strengthen our state and make us better than ever.

Unlike some other candidates I know, Jerry isn’t trying to make us the next Texas or Colorado. We don’t need to try and be some other state.

A lifelong Californian himself, Jerry knows California is the best state. And the rest of us, we who have spent all or part of our lives here, agree.  As our next Governor, Jerry will focus on what makes us strong, shaping our state into the land of possibility and innovation it’s always been.

As Jerry jetted off to the airport towards his next stop in Chico, Sarah and I joined hundreds of local supporters to wave him goodbye. I felt inspired in a way I so rarely do these days.  Love, optimism, and pride washed over me as I was reminded, yet again, about why I can’t wait for Jerry Brown to lead California.

Victoria (right) joins fellow supporters at the Eureka Democratic Headquarters.















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Getting California Working Again: The Final Countdown

It’s a feat only a legendary leader like Jerry can pull off–thirteen stops in just three days.

Starting tomorrow morning, our guy will crisscross California in his final push to encourage supporters to get out the vote on Election Day. From pizza places to parks to local county headquarters, Jerry’s excited to meet everyone who has worked so hard to make his campaign such an incredible effort.

But we can’t cross the finish line without your help. Jerry’s doing his part to help bring voters to the polls, and we hope you’ll join him. We’re hosting corresponding volunteer efforts at each event this weekend and it would be amazing if you could help out at one, even for an hour or two. The best part? Lend your time, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with preferred access to Jerry’s appearance.

If you haven’t yet taken a look at the various cities on the tour route, check out our event website and drop your RSVP. Better yet, watch the video below to see where the original California Man will be stopping.

(And as a bonus, click here for a roundup of fun facts about each city that I just put on the Huffington Post.)

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Rally in the Valley

Guest post from two SoCal Jerry supporters, Chad Jones and Dante Atkins. Chad, the President of Valley Grassroots for Democracy, and Dante, a featured writer for DailyKos, are both members of the Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley (DPSFV). DPSFV, one of the largest grassroots campaign efforts in California, is an umbrella organization that hosted a rally with the six major candidates on the Democratic ticket this past weekend.

Most of the time, it’s a big deal for a statewide Democratic candidate in California to stop by a grassroots volunteer campaign office. Six on the same day would be absolutely unheard of, especially when headlined by Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

But the DPSFV recently got some good news: Along with Kamala Harris, Debra Bowen, Gavin Newsom, John Chiang, and Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown himself was coming to our rally!

This past Sunday, several hundred enthusiastic Jerry supporters stuffed inside our office, a former video store, until it was bursting at the seams. Everyone wanted to hear what our once and future governor had to say.

When Jerry arrived, he took pictures and personally spoke to just about everybody. The program even started a few minutes early. When was the last time a rally began on time?

Even more amazing than our start-time was the multitude of volunteers who stayed at our office after the program ended to phone-bank and get out the vote for Jerry. Usually at events like these, when the big names are finished, the crowd starts to thin. But not in the San Fernando Valley! In fact, we expect to see many of the same faces next weekend when we walk a hundred precincts in support of the Democratic ticket.

After three commanding debate performances, a television ad that has been hailed as one of the best of the cycle, and a series of increasingly favorable polling numbers, Sunday’s Rally in the Valley served as even more proof that Californians are eager and motivated to see Jerry Brown become their next Governor.

For more from Sunday’s Rally in the Valley, check out our Flickr album.


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Stumping in San Diego

Guest post from Colin, a San Diego native and campaign staffer, who helped coordinate Jerry’s rally at SDSU last Thursday.

Last Thursday, our campaign held a huge rally on the campus of San Diego State University. More than 500 people attended the standing-room-only event.

The Associated Students of SDSU had invited both Jerry and the Meg Whitman campaign to visit their campus, but only Jerry Brown decided to accept their invitation.

While we had been talking with the SDSU student government for a few weeks about the potential event, the decision was finalized midday on Monday. That gave us only 36 hours to setup the rally.

For the next two days, the campaign blitzed the campus, passing out flyers with volunteers and helping students make phone calls to tell their friends. The local Democratic Party and SDSU organizers blasted out emails and Facebook invites, letting people know Jerry was coming to town.

By about 10 a.m. on the morning of the rally, the first few people started to trickle into a line. Within an hour, it had stretched around the building, through the campus plaza.

Our candidate took the stage to chants of “Jerry – Jerry!”  He was flanked by student leaders and a diverse group of San Diego elected officials, including Assemblymember Mary BlockSenator Christine Kehoe, and City Councilmember Todd Gloria.

Jerry explained that when he attended UC Berkeley, tuition was only $125, causing students to both laugh and groan. The audience cheered when he discussed why California should be willing to invest more in education, saying students “are the future, and you’re going to contribute back wealth many times over what people give.”

Jerry’s comments touched briefly on the campaign, comparing its frugality with the unprecedented personal spending of our opponent. When he pointed out that “sometimes when you don’t have enough, you make better decisions, because you have to think about stuff,” the crowd erupted with applause.

After all, starving college students know a thing or two about penny-pinching.

For more from San Diego, check out this video of Jerry’s speech and our Flickr album of photographs.

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How Alameda County Says Jerry

Guest post from our Alameda County Coordinator, Heather, who has been planning some amazing and creative events for our large contingent of Volunteers in the East Bay. Read about her experience below, and please consider joining her team or one near you for the last stretch of efforts this week!

As the Alameda County Volunteer Coordinator, it has been inspirational for me to see people from all over the county come in give their time to help elect Jerry Brown. It speaks to the candidate and to the amazing volunteers who can imagine a better California and are willing to reach out to their friends, their families and their neighbors to make it a reality.

But more still needs to be done. The polls are currently in our favor, but polls are not reality. Just because someone says they will cast a vote for someone does not mean that come Election Day they actually turn in a ballot.

That’s why we must ensure that every voice is heard, every ballot cast. We want not only California but also the nation to know that this state and our elections are not for sale, that we deserve better for our children, ourselves, our environment, our future. It is not a mandate if only one-quarter of the people who can vote, do vote. And this is a message that deserves to be a mandate.

Every time we connect with a voter face-to-face, it increases the likelihood that they will vote by 10 percent. And dropping ten door hangers is the equivalent.

We’ve been lucky to have good turnouts for our debate potluck watch parties and other events, including the So You Think You Can Vote table at the Paramount Theater during the So You Think You Can Dance auditions.

But we are kicking it up a few more notches in our big push to Get The Vote Out these final days.

This Sunday, we’re hosting our very first Knocktoberfest: an afternoon of canvassing followed by an Oktoberfest-themed barbeque, including bratwurst and pretzels – lederhosen optional.

On Tuesday, we’re throwing a trivia night. Come to phone back and stay for the Jerry Brown and California trivia. Prizes, including some sweet Jerry swag, will be awarded.

And on Wednesday, we will be hosting Boogie for Brown at Luka’s Tap Room in Oakland. Phonebank from 6-9 and then enjoy free salsa lessons and dancing afterward.

If you don’t live near the Bay Area, you can still join in the statewide effort – visit to join a group near you, sign up for local efforts, and even plan an event of your own.

I hope to see you out there on the campaign trail during our final stretch!

Heather’s volunteers hard at work at a post-debate phone bank in Oakland.

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The Man, The Myth, The Legend

I’ve pretty much been obsessed with Bill Clinton since the day I wrote a letter to the White House in second grade. So to say I was starstruck during his rally with Jerry and Gavin Newsom at UCLA last Friday would be the understatement of the century.

My coworker Dan and I were tasked with assisting the event organizers for the day, smoothing out last-minute kinks and making sure all the logistics played out as planned. We arrived to the Dickson Court at 11am to little more than a few sound engineers milling around the grass, not sure what to expect.

Within an hour the courtyard had transformed into a bona fide entertainment venue, with stacks of lights and amplifiers and a massive California flag hanging beside an equally-large American one. By 3pm, a group of more than fifty volunteers had gathered for a phone-banking and get-out-the-vote push sponsored by Organizing for America.

As I weaved through the ever-expanding crowd, introducing myself to attendees and listening to their gamut of reasons for supporting Jerry, I was struck by the genuine enthusiasm I encountered from each and every person I spoke to. From homemade Jerry shirts decorated in puff-paint to proud UCLA Bruin Democrats, from volunteer firefighters manning our memorabilia table to students wielding Jerry signs and chanting in unison, the bubbling excitement for the ensuing event felt infectious.

By the time doors officially opened to the public, a line of thousands twisted through campus, all eager to join the party. Local elected officials peppered the VIP area; to their left sat the largest ADA contingent our organizer had ever seen at a political event. Two sign-language interpreters chronicled the action for a gathering of deaf community members.

Despite the colossal onslaught of attendees, preparation ran smoothly and the audience was comfortably situated for the opening acts. Performances by local singer-songwriter Chelsea Williams and UCLA’s all-male a cappella group Bruin Harmony were both met with thunderous applause.

Then the motorcade started snaking towards the rally site, and the crowd went nuts. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced what my mom pegged “the Democratic Dream Team,” and Jerry, Gavin, and Bill filed onstage to a cacophony of cheers.

Newsom spoke first, chronicling his record in San Francisco and heaping praise upon Jerry’s work as governor, attorney general, and mayor of Oakland. Jerry’s talk followed, ending with an inspiring discussion of how California’s breakdown has paved the way for a breakthrough.

Then our forty-second president took the podium and delivered an uplifting address about the importance of environmental reform and access to top-quality education. He urged UCLA students to turn out to the polls, saying, “Any student who doesn’t vote is committing malpractice on their future.” He mentioned he and Jerry are of similar age, joking that he is grateful that Jerry still cares enough about our future to assume the role of governor once more.

It was exhilarating to see a leader I’ve admired for almost my entire life so heartily endorse the candidate I’ve been working hard for all campaign season. “It’s as simple as where are we, where do we need to go, and who can get us there best,” Clinton said to roaring applause as he explained Jerry is the best person for the job.

When his speech ended, WJC surprised everyone – especially his security guards – by leaping right into the audience and shaking hands with nearly every single one of the more than 6,000 fans in the crowd. When he returned backstage, I giddily got my photo-op as well. And the man liked my earrings.

I can’t think of anything that makes quitting my job for this crazy adventure more worth it than Friday’s rally. Except maybe a victory on Election Day.

Backstage with Bill

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