Parade Notes: Doing the Job of District 3 Senator

"Send me to Pierre—I want to work for you!"
Doing the job of District 3 Senator

An Aberdeen friend saw me Saturday afternoon and asked how the parade went.

I said I had a great time marching with my campaign team in the Gypsy Day Parade. The only complaint that I had (and my security detail, with years of parade experience, confirms this observation) is that the Gypsy Day Parade moves exceptionally fast. Bands didn’t seem to stop to play at the judges’ stand or other key crowded intersections; we seemed to be in constant motion for most of the route. (Given that it took three hours for 160 entries to travel the 20-block Main Street route, I suppose there isn’t time to pause.)

I don’t mind a brisk walk; I’m usually the guy walking at urgent debate-tournament clip while my companions tell me to slow down a bit. But Saturday, for every parade-goer’s hand whose hand I got to shake, I had to skip another four to jog ahead and catch up with my campaign wagon. Practically, there probably is no way to shake every hand at the biggest parade in South Dakota (and Toby and I tried, driving down to the end of the parade route at quarter after seven, walking up the route to greet early birds grabbing prime curb before the parade, working the full parade route alongside our float, then walking back a few blocks up the route to catch folks we’d missed). But do even those fleeting moments of eye-to-eye contact do any good? Are they worth the effort?

Colton runs for more candy; Hayden carries the campaign colors; Toby and Cory work the curb.
Here he is, District 3 Shake his hand. Call him. Write him. Give him a piece of your mind. He works for you.

Yes, said my Aberdeen friend. “That’s your job.”

My friend is right. When we candidates work the crowd, we aren’t just asking for votes. We certainly aren’t having policy discussions, not in two seconds. We hand out our card, so when people get home and send the kids out to play, they can look back at my notes on the ballot measures and give me a call or an e-mail with their thoughts. Even for the people my team misses along the route, we’re doing the work we’re expected to do. We’re holding up signs, pointing out our candidate, and saying, “Over here: this guy works for you. Remember his name, remember his face, and when you have questions, walk up to him, call him, because he works for you.”

A candidate’s job, not to mention a legislator’s job, means getting out and about, letting people know who you are, and letting them know how to find you when they need you. Even a brisk walk down Main Street, during which you shake only one out of five hands, is part of that job.


8 Responses to Parade Notes: Doing the Job of District 3 Senator

  1. Daniel Buresh

    Well since I can’t criticize Pat on his site without posting anonymously through a proxy, I’d just like to point out that they are having a problem with someone riding a bike. I find that a bit disturbing that a so-called intelligent man can’t see the error in his ways while probably needing a little exercise himself so he doesn’t die of a coronary before he retires. If such criticism earns him points with his followers, it only shows how worthless they really are. I bet they are all good little christians too. I’m sure Troy will chime in soon.

  2. Roger Cornelius

    Daniel,
    I have that same problem posting on the Powers Dump Site, my comments immediately go to moderation which is okay because he still has to read them.
    Powers dedicates a whole blog post to Cory’s “crazy” bicycle, for a campaign season it appears Powers just doesn’t have enough real politics to post about.
    For instance, Powers doesn’t find it in him to post about any of Trump’s craziness over the weekend with his tax dodging, attacks on Miss Universe, thinking Hillary is having an affair, and just within the past few hours has characterized soldiers with PTSD as weak.
    C’mon Powers, there are matters more important than Cory’s crazy bicycle.

  3. Might I offer a suggestion to candidates: don’t wear the campaign t-shirt. It makes it difficult to tell a candidate apart from the volunteers. Wearing something different will help the candidate stand out in the crowd.

  4. Ms. Misty, you could tell Mr. H was the candidate because he was the only one with a long-sleeved fancier T-shirt on. His security goons who stuck close by wore short sleeved ones.

    More importantly than how many bodyguards the candidates have is probably that bike stuff. Let me tell you, Misty, I am for Mr. H’s funny little bicycle with the milk crate. I have read him talking about liking bicycles but I had no idea he had such a unique one. He’s saving gas, carbon, and getting healthy exercise all at the same time. Plus he’s probably having fun. One of the best things I’ve seen from Mr. H in a long time. Frankly he should have ridden that in the parade.

  5. PS: vote NO on everything

  6. Hey, Roger, how can you say anything is more important than my crazy bicycle? :-D

    To Pat’s obsession, I will only say what the billboard company says: “Made you look!”

  7. Misty, I wondered about exactly that need for distinction. I considered marching in shirt and tie instead of the campaign logo. But as we gathered on Saturday, I found myself comfortable with the choice I made. As I look at the photos, I like the team vibe. As we worked the route, we distinguished candidate from volunteers in other ways: volunteers handed out candy and cards, while I handed out nothing. I think I was the only one shaking hands and wading out to the curb and sidewalk and lawns. My main right-hand man, in addition to making sure I didn’t fall too far behind, made sure he distinguished his language from mine: he pointed me out as he handed out my cards, while I made an effort to use first-person to emphasize that I was the one running.

    I didn’t hear anyone at the parade express confusion as to who was running… but then as I note above, I only got to talk to a small fraction of the people along the route. Misty thus raises a good evaluation question: was anyone else out there uncertain which of the seven of us in white Heidelberger t-shirts was actually Heidelberger?

  8. Grudz, I strongly considered riding my Burley recumbent in the parade. It makes a strong visual impression. But doing the job means being accessible. Riding my bike, while lots of fun and visually arresting, would also have kept me from shaking hands and looking people in the eye, which is even more fun. Plus, in that crowded situation—floats, volunteers, kids paying attention to nothing but that piece of candy on the pavement—riding bike is an accident waiting to happen.

    That said, the local BMX team did stunts all the way down the parade route. Wow!

    When a few thousand people are all lined up along Main Street, the best marketing I can do is face-to-face, shaking hands, saying a few words while making eye contact. I can get my share of on-bike advertising cruising around town on other days… when I can demonstrate that bicycling isn’t just for a one-day stunt but a daily way of life.