Campaign Diary – A Potpourri
Saturday, March 20 – FCBA Home Show – I had the opportunity to take my family to the Fairgrounds today for the Frederick County Builders’ Association Home Show. It was a beautiful day, and when I was there, the booths were busy.
My colleagues in the industry were doing their best to show the attendees the latest in innovation and technology. I especially liked hearing about the latest in energy efficiency and cost savings. My daughters liked all the baskets of candies at the booths!
I did have the opportunity to speak with “Frederick’s Morning Mayor,” Bob Miller. It was great that he was there, along with Pattee Brown, host of WFMD’s Frederick Forum on Saturdays, who did a live remote. I heard that Commissioner Blaine Young was there, showing his support. I don’t know if any of the other commissioners were there.
Sunday, March 21 – First Fundraiser
This evening was the first formal fundraiser for the campaign. It was at a friend’s house in Frederick City, and there were about 20 people there. We had people bring hors d’oeurves and drinks, and the weather couldn’t have been better. I spoke on the porch, inside, and out on the patio well into the evening.
The event was set up such that I arrived with my family about a half hour before the event. We helped set things up, like food, a sign-in sheet, and decorations. At the top of the hour, people started arriving, and I was able to greet them as they walked in. I had known most everyone prior, and it was important for our team to have friends there at a first event such as this. There is a lot to be said for having a high comfort level.
Just before the first hour ended, I was introduced by the hostess. I talked about who I was and why I was running. I then discussed the Frederick County issues that I’d been hearing from them, but more importantly, the Frederick City issues. [Memo to self: tailor all public speaking engagements to the audience.]
This was followed by a Question and Answer session. At the end, when one of our team members gave me the “wrap it up” signal, I thanked the audience, asked for donations and volunteer support, and recommended they visit our web site.
Looking back, there were some things I could have done better. One was to tighten my talking points on a couple of the issues. Also, I would like to have said more about my family and my daughters to personalize my message more. However, this being the first one, I have no regrets.
Monday, March 22 – Debriefing
Debriefing conversations need not occur face-to-face, so long as communications are clear. We had an excellent debriefing Monday morning among the team members. It started with emails, then cell phone conversations. Criticisms were expressed constructively, done so to strengthen our campaign. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have experts whom you trust to help during these sessions. Furthermore, I cannot help expressing how blessed I am to have a great team around me. They pick up on things that I can’t because I’m in the thick of things.
Today was by no means a day off. I forged ahead with meetings, the highlight of which was with someone who does not want to see the incinerator being built. We spent an hour looking at the whys and wherefores of the facility, and I learned a great deal. I am continually thankful for the continued high levels of discussions I am having regarding this issue.
Tuesday, March 23 – Environmental Sustainability and Rotary
I spent a good part of the morning meeting with Hilari Varnadore, director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability. What a great conversation! I learned a great deal about her process and the scope of her work. I shared with her my thoughts on what to do in this area in Frederick County. It turns out that we agree on our goals and on how to achieve them. She shared with me the commission’s work and future plans. I am really happy with the direction they’re going.
At the Tuesday night Rotary Club dinner, I introduced Commissioner Blaine Young to the group. He discussed what it’s been like since taking office, and discussed issues like the budget, charter form of government, and the need for new schools. The audience had good questions and was glad to hear from him.
Wednesday, March 24 – Read Across America
The day was spent at Lincoln Elementary School reading to children in different classes. I was invited, along with others, as part of the National Read Across America Program. I ended up reading in three classrooms over the course of the day. It was a great time, and I was able to spend time with the excellent staff and teachers there.
The day ended on a sad note as my wife and I paid our respects to the Poffenbargers, who lost their son in a tragic accident over the weekend. It turns out that there were about 800 people who came to show their support this evening.
Friday, March 26 – More on WTE and jobs
I had the great pleasure to meet with two prominent people in the public discussions on the Waste-to-Energy facility. The morning discussion focused on why we should build the facility. It was done with a great deal of historical evidence as to why this regional facility is best for this area. We discussed at length my suggestions, and there was much give-and-take.
The afternoon was spent with someone who is opposed to the facility, and has been looking at it from an economic perspective. His emphasis was on the current and future costs of the contract with the authority overseeing the project. As with my earlier discussion, we discussed my suggestions, and he shared with me much of his most recent research.
The day ended with a review of the BP Solar announcement that it is laying off 320 employees of a work force of 420. The manufacturing has been closed, but those in sales, marketing, and other divisions will continue. The reason cited was that the cost of manufacturing here is higher than elsewhere. In spite of stimulus funding, BP Solar couldn’t make it work.
A tough loss for this area….