Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Day Three for Rick Perry - The Adventures of Mr. Ed and Little Punk

"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm ... As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others."- Audrey Hepburn

I set out on this journey to help someone I believe can help Americans help themselves, and make it exciting to be an American citizen again - truly knowing what that means. Monday, January 2, and day three of my trip started early with me joining a Facebook friend and recent arrival from Tennessee: Yomi Faparusi, a doctor and lawyer, originally from Nigeria, and fiercely dedicated to Governor Perry’s campaign. We were tasked immediately to deliver caucus kits for leaders in seven precincts; Yomi's Sequoia lumbered down the freeway as i navigated with an iPad, travelling over 300 miles through the farmlands of Iowa for an experience like none other for a city boy like myself. Several of our stops were accessible only by dirt roads. I loved it.

In keeping with past experiences, two people apologized for not inviting us in to sit down, all were extremely gracious, and three more people today thanked us for coming to them

Our long travel day took us to Gowrie, IA, where we came to see a wonderful 78 yr old woman – when she heard we were with Governor Perry’s campaign she screeched “He’s my man”. Her husband, mayor of Gowrie, had a much less enthusiastic response – he left the room permanently when we entered never coming back! He apparently was a Santorum supporter, according to his wife. “I thought Perry forgot about me!” she said. And I replied, “That’s why I’m here! We would never forget you. We need you”. She is caucusing for Perry and wearing her Perry shirt proudly.
One man, with three caucus goers in the home, loved Perry but was leaning Mitt because he hadn’t watched a debate since October. He took our materials and said he would likely caucus with Perry.

The biggest encouragement working with people is pointing out to them that we are the only campaign that has motivated enough people from around the country to actually be able to stop by their home. It works!

On the way back to HQ for the evening, we were able to stop in Perry, IA, where the Governor was capping his 44 stop bus tour before landing in Des Moines. As Yomi and I approached the amazing Hotel Patee, the buzz could be felt from a block away. The venue isn’t that large, but was packed with hundreds of supporters carrying signs, stickers and wearing Perry for President attire. Once inside, the homage to railroad life and dark wood floors warmed the environment and made a crowd that was actually quite large feel quaint and intimate. Around the corner was a small banquet room where Governors Jindal, Brownback and Perry had just finished rallying the crowd and people were still walking with a pep in their step.

The energy at Perry’s events has been infectious and the high profile endorsements – from Gov. Bobby Jindal to Steven Forbes and Sen. James Inhofe – have lent a strength and durability to the Gov. Perry’s campaign which will carry him long into this primary race. I was able to speak briefly with Gov. Jindal and at more length with Gov. Brownback, since I have a personal connection to him through one of his past colleagues. I was able to have a picture taken with each.

We finished our evening back at HQ, where we stocked up with 75 signs and participated in the late-night sign blitz! Teams of Strike Force volunteers fanned out across the metro area with 2,000 signs and placed them by as many local precincts as possible; Iowans woke up in the morning to find many local caucus locations like schools and community centers surrounded by Perry signs. Riley came along on the trip, since he was well-rested and prepared with a good two hour afternoon nap. He had an absolute blast helping us push those metal wire signs into freezing cold ground. I couldn’t keep him in the warm car, so I snapped lots of pictures and made a few memories along the way. Riley was very proud of his work, and kept saying “I’m a sign worker guy, I’m a GOOD sign worker guy!”

The long day ended around midnight as I dropped off the last volunteer at their hotel. During a brief conversation (while both puffed three cigarettes each) with Ted Royer, Perry’s speechwriter and David, his primary researcher, we felt affirmed that our efforts were having a direct effect on their internal numbers. Crawling into bed, I was excited for the day coming ahead, and I knew we had physically done as much as we could do. One of the hallmarks of this Iowa ground game has been the actual ground covered and recovered by tireless volunteers.

Five volunteer centers, two larger coordinating HQ's and 2,000 volunteer and staff workers are motivated, energized and looking forward to beginning the restoration of a sound, balanced and effective American government. I’m so proud to be a part of giving my son this opportunity to have the same life I did, because win or lose in Iowa, we're putting out energies into something that matters.

That’s what we’re here for! Onto bed…


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