A couple of days ago, Democracy for America endorsed Linda Stender for Congress. And she thanked me in what she wrote. And it’s cool to be mentioned – with Nathan Rudy – in a public thank you from somebody who’s going to be sitting in Congress next year.
That brings me to Gordon Sell. Gordon’s a member of the Hunterdon DFA group I started 5 years ago. That’s him standing to the right. He’s a Viet Nam vet, which automatically makes him different from virtually everybody else who walks through the door at DFA. And plenty of times he reminds us how our opposition to the Iraq War needs to recognize the people we have sent to fight it. And he’s right.
A couple of years ago, the Stender campaign got an idea that veterans should be the ones to talk to other vets about Stender’s support of better benefits for them – like these. The idea knocked around Stender HQ for a while, but nobody took ownership of it. So I asked Gordon if he could take charge, he shrugged his shoulders and said: Yeah, maybe.
Calls started, out of the Hunterdon Democratic HQ in Flemington, a tiny office always too hot or too cold. First it was just Gordon, then word got out and some more Viet Nam era vets drifted in. Once a week, then twice. By the end of the campaign the Vets-to-Vets calls for Stender were Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, after people’s work. And the room was full.
Gordon wanted the calls unscripted. No clunky phone bank scripts written by 20-year-olds. These were conversations – about where Stender was on their issues, and why vets voting matters.