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President's Notes or "A Message from My Heart" (Diane Hastert)
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President's Notes or "A Message from My Heart"
My nominations for the heroine-of-the-month go to Gretel McLane and Maury Haunch for successfully managing the Candidate's Fair with an amazing combination of finesse, determination and a disease known as telephone ear. The contributions of countless League and non-League individuals is most acknowledged. Nearly 75% of the potential candidates appeared and with the background in experience we now have, I feel certain that our next Candidate's Fair will attract even more participants and audience.
What was gained? The public had an opportunity to visit with, question and compare those individuals asking for their votes for State Senate, House, School Board and City Council. They were aided by League question suggestion sheets which gave them tips on the issues most pressing in each race. For many it was a first time face-to-face with candidates.
The Candidates had an opportunity to talk with a wider selection of the population than just their own constituents. Further, the shoppers at Ala Moana Center included many people who do not ordinarily have the interest to go to regular political rallies. Candidates from high rise districts where their door-belling is restricted were able to meet with potential constituents, and reach many more people than at small coffees. They benefitted by our publicity of the event, and we benefitted from the tremendous cooperation all media offered.
The League really begins to fulfill its purpose with an event of this type. Our goal of encouraging informed citizen participation comes much closer to reality
when we can bring voters face-to-face with these seeking their votes. A face-to-face confrontation gives people a much better chance to evaluate than reading campaign literature. I have long been convinced that many elections are determined on the basis of name familiarity, and find it frightening. A event like this does all those it touches a service by helping to correct that situation.
And now for a short sermon—every election time is exhausting for most of us. Some are jubilant, others depressed; many of my phone calls were distressing because people really know so little about their citizenship responsibilities. On the other hand, they cared enough to ask questions; 70% of those registered cared enough to vote, and at the beginning 320 individuals cared enough to put themselves through the rigors of campaigning. (I called a League member who had run and lost on the Monday following the primary, and asked her to begin helping us with the candidates' fair. Rather than accusing me of insensitivity (which she did later), she immediately agreed to do her bit saying, "That's really what democracy is all about. If we don't keep up our efforts, each of us, it'll all go down the drain. I'll be there whenever you want me" Now that's an attitude I admire. Hope to see you all at the workshop on the 12th and units beginning the 21st.
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