This morning I had to remind my sixteen-year-old daughter for the one-millionth time that she needed to start wearing a jacket since the weather is getting colder.
This reminded me of a campaign event, which I attended seven years ago this coming spring. My daughter and I had been invited to an event just outside of Santa Fe to meet some of the candidates from the northern part of the state. The event was free for anyone. I was invited because I was a new political blogger who covered candidates from all over the state.
Like this morning, my daughter had forgotten to wear a jacket. The day started out nice. When we got to the Chile farm, it had started to rain lightly. We stayed under the tent. I spoke to candidates as we ate some food. I was waiting for the Governor to speak when my daughter started to complain that she was getting cold. I was more than a little upset with her. She had once more walked out the door without a jacket. This had been a long running battle between the two of us.
A gentleman came up to us. He noticed that my daughter was cold. This man with the boots and the cowboy hat appeared concerned for her. This softened my usual demander because my primary concern is for my daughter’s welfare. I had never met this man before that event. He introduced himself as Tom Udall. He asked me to vote for him for congress. I told him that I lived in Albuquerque outside of his district. He still was interested in my options on the issues. I liked him. I supported and worked his campaign when he ran for U.S. Senator.
A few months back the Senators and Congressmen of this state all except for Congressman Lujan said that they would not be attending any townhall type events because of safety issues. All of their events since that announcement have been small private fundraising events. The price tag for these events has not been cheap. Things that normal average voters can ill afford to attend in today’s economic environment. While safer for the candidates, I do not think these types of events are going to buy them enough votes to win in next year’s elections.
No amount of money can buy the hearts and souls of the voting public in this state. We have seen candidates in the past spend large sums of money just to loss at the polls. What matters is if a candidate is willing to listen and act on what the common people are saying to them. If candidates wall themselves off from the voters, they have no idea what matters to the voters.
Now they can say that they are working hard in Washington or Santa Fe for the voters, but how do they know what matters to the voters. As most people already know, polls can and often are wrong. Unless elected officials speak directly to voters, they seldom understand the concerns of the middle class or the working poor. More of our state’s voters fit those categories.
Elected officials have voted a number of times to cut the educational budget in this state, which has resulted in my income being cut. I have to pay more because my daughter’s school has less funding for classroom supplies. The cost of everything including food has been going up over the last seven years as my income has gone down.
President Obama has been sending out request for campaign donations. He says that in return for these donations to his campaign that you can be entered in a change to have dinner with him. The donations are as low as five dollars. Well the president is more than welcome to come have dinner with me and my daughter any times he likes. I have no desire or time to travel to the White house for dinner. If he wants my five dollars, he is going to have to come ask for it in person. We can have dinner at a fast food place where the common voting public in this state eat dinner.
The message from this blog is simple. If candidates want people to vote for them, they had better start getting out of Santa Fe and Washington. Candidates need to listen to common voters so they can start voting the public’s will. Yes, some voters are going to be very angry at first and with good reasoning.