By Danielle Pollett
I’m a new PC. I’m untrained. I’ve never canvased, never volunteered anything beyond my dollars to a campaign. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for nearly a decade, yet never been contacted by a local Democrat. I didn’t know my Congressional or Legislative District until a couple months ago. I certainly didn’t know the latter is split between two different counties. (Seriously, why? Isn’t the job hard enough without having to coordinate data from 2 different County Recorders?)
It’s common knowledge here in Arizona; many neighborhoods are missing the neighborly element. We go from house, to car, out the garage and back again. Everyone seems to be a transplant. People come and go; some are only here for half the year. No one talks to each other. We might give or receive a friendly wave, maybe discover our kids share a class, but that’s pretty rare.
Being the representative for my neighborhood in this climate is daunting. I’m not sure if this is part of the PC Handbook (told you I wasn’t trained) but I’d feel like an ass (no pun intended) pretending to speak for my precinct without getting to know the people in it.
Phase #1: Start small.
A lot of communities these days have Facebook groups. They are mainly used to announce yard sales, ask about lost pets, or warn of potential dangers lurking about…in my neighborhood’s case, mainly coyotes. So the other day, I found my community’s page and introduced myself.
I didn’t get very many responses, but I also didn’t get ANY negative backlash. Bonus!
I created a Group Page on Facebook for my Legislative District and anyone who ‘liked’ or commented on my Community Post Introduction, I added to the group for LD16. I haven’t looked up all 857 people in my precinct on Facebook, however, I did look up all my fellow PCs and add them to the LD16 Facebook Group. I even got my LD Chair to include it on the most recent flyer/newsletter… mainly because I designed it myself!
My goal is to be more active on my community’s Facebook page, and their Nextdoor page. Tip: If you have an HOA, chances are, your community has a Nextdoor group set up. If you haven’t gotten any emails or letters about it, you can search https://nextdoor.com/ using your street address.
Phase #2: Become neighborly.
Introducing myself and establishing an online presence isn’t enough. I want to SEE these peoples’ faces. Soon, I intend to mail out a PC Newsletter including a couple of meet up times at our local Panera Bread. With sports and school almost over, we’re about to see a lot of moms ready to spend a Saturday morning on adult conversation. Perhaps if I get a consistent turnout, we can have regularly scheduled brunches outside our Legislative District’s monthly meeting.
Phase #3: Start infiltrating.
If you’re up for the task, and it’s only for those hardcore organizers, start infiltrating the community pages surrounding your precinct. Introduce yourself. Tell them what you do as a PC. Invite them to one of your gatherings. You’ll be able to identify future PC candidates or, if nothing else, accumulate a few additional volunteers and attendees for your LD’s next monthly meeting.
As PCs, we’re organizers. But we can’t expect the same level of political activism from the Dems in our precincts. What we can do is form relationships and be their go-to person, so when it comes time to canvas, register new voters, phone bank, or just remind people to get out to the polls, our job should be much easier and well received.