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Campaigning is More than Asking for Votes. It’s about Connecting with Neighbors

1742 doors to knock. 4771 neighbors to talk.

Several weeks ago, I set a goal of knocking these doors and talking to these neighbors. With just about a week left until this year’s election, I think I am close to reaching that goal. Yes, I wasn’t able to see and talk to everyone, but I’m very happy that I tried to knock as many of them as I could – from Odessa Rd on the north to Cherokee St on the south, From Route 1 on the west to 53rd Ave on the east.
The election season is an incredible time for me to connect with my neighbors in College Park. Since I first ran (unsuccessfully) in 2009 for the City Council, I’ve never found another way to intimately connect with my neighbors.

 

Talking to my neighbors one-on-one is more than campaigning for their votes.

Yes, my neighbors talk a lot about city/neighborhood stuff. These topics range over a wide variety of things – public safety, crime, school, unregistered rentals, loud noise, traffic, parking, speeding, potholes, city-university relations, development – just to name a few.

But, walking on this campaign trail has also given me an opportunity on another level – a very personal, intimate neighborly level. I find many of my neighbors sharing their very personal stories – the news of a newborn or the death of their dearest ones in the family. Others talk about a new pet, a new job, retirement, the graduation of their kid, or move out of a family member to another state. I’m incredibly grateful to sense the trust they have in me in sharing these very personal stories.

I feel kind of embarrassed to knock my neighbors’ doors only during the election season. I wish I could be in touch with all of the neighbors year-round. Yes, I know a lot more of them now than I used to know back in 2009 when I first started knocking their doors. Yet I still need to do a lot of catching up to know them all on a personal level. I still dream of a day when I could name each of my neighbors at each of these houses, without looking at the list in my clipboard. Will that be true one day?

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