Last week, when I was visiting Chicago, Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign and I got inspired to take the pledge campaign to the streets. We decided to “field-test” the Voters First Pledge by toting along a blown-up poster of the pledge to a couple of candidates for election this November and telling them all of the excellent reasons that they should sign on. We were closest to the campaign HQs of Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic candidate, and Peter Roskum, a Republican and former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay. Both are vying for the open seat vacated by Rep. Henry Hyde in Illinois’ fifth district.
We were joined in the effort by Aileen, a local member of the Public Campaign. We found the Duckworth campaign office in a small strip mall and approached with the poster. Inside, people were a little taken aback until we finished up the introductions and walked them through the elements of the poster-sized pledge. The campaign manager for Duckworth was gracious, told us that he had reviewed the pledged with the candidate and that she would sign on. He pulled papers out of the back office to which Duckworth had attached a statement of her views and had us push the fax machine button to send them through. Another pledge on record!
We next ventured on to visit the Roskum headquarters. It was in a small house in a residential area, with a Mercedes parked out front. The reception there was far chillier. Once inside, an office manager appeared who summarily informed us that the candidate and campaign manager were gone. She did allow us to leave the large pledge behind in the entry way to the office and thanked us for visiting as she closed the door.
Overall, a pleasant experience! Everyone should drop by a campaign office, or email and call candidates and ask them to sign the pledge. You never know what will happen until you try.