By Michael Haran
On the Saturday before the Super Bowl we all met at the Carpenter’s Hall on Lindaro Street in San Rafael. We were there, all 42 of us, volunteers to walk and talk and to introduce Marin voters to Mike McGuire who is running for the 2nd District State Senate. Mike is Sonoma County’s 4th District Supervisor and has this thing for knocking on doors.
First off he treated us to a continental breakfast of pastries and coffee and then we all gathered in the hall’s conference room for roll playing. Mike played himself and one of the experienced “walkers” played a homeowner. Mike’s campaign, www.mikemcquireforsentate.com uses a computer software program that identifies past voters, Democrat, Republican and “Decline to State” (independents), in a neighborhood.
Mike uses a “one to five” system for homeowner response with “one” being “yes, I’m voting for you” to five being “they chased me away with a broom!” The more interesting simulation came from the “two,” “three” and “four” responders. The twos’ were “I like what I hear and I will definite consider voting for you;” the threes’ were “I like what I hear but at this point I’m undecided;” and the fours’ were mostly Republicans. Most Republicans in Marin, a very liberal district, are “moderate” Republicans and not the more extreme tea party types. For the most part they are informed and care about the issues.
Mike then went over the voter talking points. For being so young (he’s 34) Mike has quite impressive resume of accomplishments:
- Mike united Sonoma County around a jobs plan that made Sonoma County first in California jobs growth;
- He has made strategic Sonoma County budget decisions which have created a $10 million surplus;
- Mike, at 19 years-old, was the youngest ever Healdsburg school board president and who built a coalition that helped improve and strengthen local schools in response to state budget cuts;
- As vice-chair of the Eel-Russian River Commission, Mike has protected and preserved thousands of acres of open space and our pristine coast;
- Mike is a Democrat who is a pro-jobs and pro-Economic Development and has always been endorsed by the Farm Bureau and the Business Groups in Sonoma County;
- Mike has been endorsed by Congressman Jared Huffman, Congressman Mike Thompson, State Senator Noreen Evans, State Senator Mark Leno, Novato Mayor Eric Lucan former Assemblywoman Patty Berg, former opponent Chris Lehman, California League of Conservation Voters, as well as the majority of the Eureka City Council.
We all then picked our tote bags which contained water, maps, voter lists, talking points, door hangers and pens. Mike then gave one of his patented “Now let’s all get out there…” pep talks which I think came from is time as Student Body President and Rally Commissioner at Healdsburg High School. Mike has a very ingratiating personality. He always has time to talk to someone. This is why people are attracted to him and why he has so many volunteers. His mom, Sherry, says he’s always been that way even as a little kid.
Everyone then scattered to their assigned neighborhoods some working alone others in teams. I went with Mike and his mother-in-law Carol Fremault (yes, it is all in the family) to a Terra Linda neighborhood. The homes there are Eichlers which were built in the 1950s and 60s. They were very futuristic for their time and most have been updated. Mike and I took one side of the street and Carol took the other.
Mike knocked on the first door and no-one answered. He wrote a sorry I missed you note and left a door hanger. The next house had a “no solicitor” sign and so Mike again left a note and a door hanger. The third house was the charm. An older woman answer and Mike introduced himself with “Hi, I wanted to introduce myself I’m Mike McGuire and I’m running for 2nd District State Senator.” Mike handed her a door hanger and told her that she could read about his qualifications. She wanted to talk about senior healthcare and Mike got right into it talking about Medicare and what it has meant to the lives of California’s senior citizens. She thanked us and Mike thanked her – I think she was a “two.”
The next person was a “four.” He kind of grumbled and took the campaign literature. The next lady was a campaign worker’s dream. She was so excited to listen to Mike and said that she was glad such a young person was running for office. She was a “one” as she said she was definitely voting for Mike.
After a few more “not homes” Mike knocked on Mark and Kay Woodburn’s door. Kay is a retired librarian and is involved in several non-profit organizations and even worked on a past San Rafael City councilman’s campaign. She was very up on the issues and talked to Mike about education and the environment. After we left I said they were definitely a “one” at which Mike surprised me by saying they were a” three.” He said I mistook their enthusiasm in talking to Mike as a commitment. Having talked to thousands of people, Mike new differently. I still think they’re a “one.”
We moved along knocking on doors and talking to people. Mike talked about pension reform, the drought and the projected state budget surplus. The reason Mike is so up on the issues is that he is a tireless reader getting up at four a.m. to start his day. I think it’s the farmer in him.
The most touching moment came when Mike knocked on a door and several small dogs started to yap. The door was answered by a Downs Syndrome young adult girl. Mike introduced himself and asked her what kind of dogs she had. She lit up talking about her dogs and Mike said that he has a pug. She said she loves pugs. Mike’s affection for animal is not forced as he grew up on a farm where he raised pigs, a turkey (called Gregory Peck), a “million” pigmy goats, 14 cats and four dogs.
She then asked Mike what he is doing to help handicapped people. Mike mentioned the handicap accessibility infrastructure that has been installed in Sonoma County since he has been supervisor and his support for “Mainstreaming” which is the practice of integrating students with special needs in regular classes. She then gave Mike a big hug. This is a trait of Downs’s kids and if we could all be like that the world would be a much more loving place.
Along the way Mike would texted entries to his Mike-for-Senate Facebook page to let everyone know about his morning activities – “Going the extra yard in San Rafael – Super Saturday is off and running! Over 40 are walking neighborhoods this morning (big thank you to all volunteers)!”
So the knocking and walking ended (we only had couple of “fives” and they were family dogs that weren’t too happy so see us walking up their driveways). Back at the Carpenter’s Hall, Mike’s wife Erika and her crew stayed behind to prepare a Super Bowl type BBQ “tailgate” party for the volunteers. Everyone turned in their numbers and over 3,000 doors were knocked on that day. Mike then gave out prizes for homes walked, the most successful volunteer recruiter and the best Super Saturday selfie! The prizes were an “I Like Mike” t-shirt; a Starbucks gift card; and a jar of peanut butter. The peanut butter was so random but that’s one of the reason we all love Mike.
Mike’s co-campaign manager Chris Rogers said, “Today puts us over 25,000 doors (they have now knocked on over 60,000 doors) and there are still seven more weeks until the June 3th vote. We are moving ahead … right through till November 4th. Others may be saying the race is over, but Mike never takes anything for granted and will always work his hardest, right up until the end.”
With 1,075,000 people in the Seven County 2nd District, and 2.23 people per dwelling, Mike only has about 450,000 doors to knock on. Knowing this man he would knock on every one of them if he could but don’t be surprised if he reaches 100,000 knocks and call by June 3rd. So if you hear a knock at your door or a call on your phone, answer it, it just might be your next state senator.
Michael Haran is a freelance writer who lives in Healdsburg.Read More