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April 5, 2010

Campaign Diary – On The Road Again…..

Michael Kurtianyk

March 27-29 – Administrivia – One of the things no one tells you about when running a campaign is the balancing act between work, campaign, and family. I had a long list of things I needed to take care of for the campaign – marketing, volunteers, etc., which I’d planned to do Saturday morning.


However, when a client calls Friday afternoon and says that he and his wife want to look at houses Saturday and Sunday, well, campaign things become secondary.


This wasn’t the first time, but at this point in the campaign, I am ramping up the infrastructure and I needed to take care of what I call the “administrivia” of the campaign. However, I am blessed to have a great team around that understands. Since they’ve experienced what I am going through, they have a greater sensibility to the balancing act I am experiencing.


March 30 – Fundraiser


We held a second fundraiser this evening. There were around 35 attendees who were invited because of their leadership and success in business. Our decision was to discuss job growth: past, present, and future. The focus was on the expansion of revenue opportunities through business growth, something that the business leaders in the room didn’t think has been occurring.


We did our usual format: one hour of meet-and-greet, then the introduction by the host, after which I spoke. I made a decision during the host’s introduction not to read from my notes. Why? I don’t really know. I just felt that with this group, on this topic (job growth), I should just go ahead and speak in front of the podium rather than behind it.


And so, this is what I did. I stepped out in from of the podium and didn’t refer to the six pages of notes. I started with a short statement about myself and my family, the issues that I am discussing, and then wrapping it up with information about the campaign (web site, email, etc.).


This is always followed by a question-and-answer session. This evening, the questions centered on job opportunities (missed and made) and how to provide more in the future. I am always amazed at the quality of the questions from groups. This was a respectful group, and the questions were not of the “gotcha!” type that we see so often in public politics.


The evening also reinforced what I am sensing from people around the county: the big issues are job growth, the budget, and the tax disparity between the county and the municipalities. These are the topics people want to discuss. So I’ve stopped having preconceived notions as to what the people of this community have as their important issues.


March 31 – The Constitution


I spent a great hour this afternoon with a local citizen discussing the campaign and the constitution. The reason for meeting was that we knew we’d be seeing a lot of each other this year, and I especially felt that we should just meet informally before being thrust in the public eye together through the media.


We talked a lot about ourselves as a way into who we are and how we ended up here. This is common when people first meet. What made this conversation great was that we ended up talking a lot about the principled approach to a campaign: specifically, what are the foundations of a campaign? What are the principles within a person that forms his/her ideas? How does the United States Constitution fit in with all of this? How do one’s religious beliefs form the candidate?


I was intrigued and energized by the conversation, and I left the conversation with a more intense focus with our campaign.


April 1 – Coffee with the Candidate


I had the opportunity to go up to Emmitsburg today for the weekly “Coffee with the Candidate”. We met at The Palms, and there were nearly 15 attendees. We had great conversations that ranged from the recent closing of the Tourist Center (bad for everyone!), to the municipal/county relations.


There was one topic that was very important to the people at the table: the funding of fire and rescue services. We have volunteers and paid personnel, and there has been a shift from more volunteers to more paid personnel. How everyone gets funded is indeed an issue, and one important to the people in Emmitsburg.


Random Notes:


The weather has been great for soccer practices….


The Easter weekend provides a great opportunity to be with family and reflect on our blessings….


With the YMCA leasing the pool from the VFW Country Club, and the golf course opening up to the public, we can look for more such public/private partnerships….


With the Board of County Commissioners laying off 23 employees, and cutting 102 total positions, we see the beginning of the tough decisions that need to be made in this struggling economy.


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