Looking Back on 2016

As I write this it is one day before the election. Tomorrow I will cast my ballot. Today, I reflect on the past 18 months of working an electoral campaign for kids.

I think one of the highlights of this season for me was that we had many opportunities to meet all the men and women running for President and ask them at least one, and in many cases, numerous questions about child and family issues. While not all were aware of the issues or could offer an answer to our questions, it afforded us the opportunity to do some education and start the conversation in New Hampshire. Most importantly, in some cases, we saw those candidates inserting pieces of what they had learned into their conversations at other public forums.

nh_sufkThe other highlight was getting out and talking to people about our work.  We had the opportunity to travel our beautiful state and meet many of her residents, both young and old. The stories that were shared were inspiring, heart-warming, and at times heart-breaking. We met children with amazing abilities and amazing children facing tremendous challenges. All of them inspired us to work a bit harder, travel a bit farther, ask more pointed questions, and educate more people.

We participated in roundtables and attended forums on quality, affordable early childhood education with a presidential candidate, the wife of a vice-presidential candidate, a Congressional candidate, and candidates running for state office; a roundtable discussion on domestic violence with the wife of a presidential candidate; and forums on early childhood issues with the NH Gubernatorial candidates and State Legislative candidates.  We also hosted a Facebook Live Conversation on child and family issues with a US Senate candidate in our Concord office.

img_3196The NH team attended candidate town halls, barbecues, spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, ice cream socials, meet and greets, house parties, lobster bakes and many more events to ask questions, raise issues, and start the conversation about closing the opportunity gap. We talked to voters, passed out bumper stickers, voting information, and nearly 8,000 pumpkin bags, knocked on more than 2,500 doors, collected pledge to vote cards, and e-mail addresses and signatures on issue-based petitions. We hosted more than 20 advocacy trainings, #NHPrimaryConcerns Twitter Chats, Step Up for Kids Day events, a Family Fun Day, and Poverty Simulations. We spoke at senior centers, community centers and Head Start centers, and we provided our materials and voter information at more than 30 conferences.

Our work is not finished with today’s election. A new phase of our work begins tomorrow. There will be incumbents returning to reach out to and update on the issues, and newly elected officials to meet and introduce to the issues. But tonight, I’m going to sit glued to the television and watch the returns knowing that no matter the outcome, every one of the staff members, volunteers, canvassers, and colleagues we partnered with over the last 18 months did all that we could to insert the needs of all children and their families into this election.

Sincerely,

MaryLou Beaver
Director
Every Child Matters in New Hampshire

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