This past weekend, Felicia, Christine, Emilia and I joined thousands of our fellow Americans canvassing neighborhoods in an effort to get voters to the polls. Our GOTV, or get out the vote, kicked off on Friday night with a concert in Fresno. Cake played and I have to say that after all these years, I still love them. Before the show, the crowd was greeted by Andrew Janz, the Democrat standing up to Devil Nunes in CA-22. Although there is little hope of Janz defeating Nunes, the locals wanted to make sure Nunes knows they are deeply dissatisfied with how their Representative is behaving. John McCrea, lead singer of Cake, talked to the Fresno Bee about how these political times have impacted his willingness to interact with politicians. “I’ve pretty much studiously avoided direct political association with candidates,” he says. And yet, “That is a luxury I can’t afford anymore.”
None of us can afford that luxury. And so Felicia, Christine, Emilia and I added our time and energy to the campaign of TJ Cox in CA-21. The district is located in the central valley and covers a large area, from Bakersfield all the way up to just south of Fresno. Although Emilia is the only person who lives locally, the rest of us were raised in Manteca so we felt qualified to talk to local voters about politicians who focus their time and energy on what’s happening in Washington DC rather than where their constituents live. Cox has helped fund health clinics in the district whereas his opponent has voted to do away with the ACA. Cox has created jobs, supports DACA, and is generally trying to keep the focus on what will benefit the people in CA-21. Rep Valadao, the incumbent, has voted with Trump 99% of the time and many of the locals are not happy about that.
On Saturday morning, after a breakfast spent elbowing French people out from in front of the coffee station at the Days Inn, we all went out to Parlier.
Located in Fresno County and surrounded by agriculture, Parlier has a population of about 14,000 people and one of the highest concentration of Latinos in the state of California. We were assigned to a neighborhood that had 167 houses the fine folks at Swing Left wanted us to visit. Research indicated the voters on our list were highly likely to vote for TJ Cox. Parlier had been lightly canvassed earlier in the year but we were one of a few groups sent out to try and canvass pretty much the entire city.
Luckily we are four women willing to go to great lengths to finish every task assigned to us. We were a carload of nerdy white ladies off to convince strangers they shouldn’t just vote but vote for the candidate we were out stumping for. The good people of Parlier were generally very patient with us. Even their dogs were generally willing to give us the benefit of the doubt and not run us out of town.
We stood out so much that when we went to lunch at Los Agaves, a delicious little restaurant on the corner of Mendocino and Ann, a family eating there asked if we were the ladies in the white car.
Yes we were and did they want a flier? They did. The lady who waited on us let us leave a stack of fliers and patiently made sure that I didn’t order food that was too spicy. It was fair since I looked a sweaty mess when we staggered through the door.
After a few hours canvassing and eating, we decided to finish the second half of our neighborhood on Sunday. And on Sunday we did just that. We ran into a few other groups canvassing, a truly adorable puppy and many people who had absolutely had it with the way things are and were ready for a change.
So now we are in our hotel room, taking stock of the weekend and eating take out. There is some very good food in Fresno.
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