Connecting with Voters on a Senate Campaign

My name is Jonny Raymond. I’m a senior International Relations Major whose minoring in Political Economics and Asian Studies from Billerica Massachusetts. Over the last summer I had the pleasure and honor of working for US Senator Ed Markey as a fellow for his campaign reelection team in the September State Primary. I’ve always been a politically active and civic minded person, so I was really excited to get an internship working both for someone who I truly admired, and to get some first hand experience working on a political campaign. It was initially quite the challenge, the pandemic had really forced the team to think outside the box to figure out how we could engage with constituents. We didn’t have a regional campaign office, and we couldn’t go knocking door to door to canvas folks. So in some ways everyone was learning something new through this experience.

I’ve never been a very social person. I like to keep to myself, and I don’t connect very quickly with people. However those were two skills that were crucial to my job. Since everything we did was going to be through the phone, they really pushed us to connect with everyone we talked to create a personal connection, and maybe help convince them that Ed was the right candidate. I struggled at first, I found it really difficult to open up, however I was making between 100 to 350 calls a day, and over time I started to get used to it. They taught us the key was to both speak about why we personally supported Ed, but also asking them what issue they cared about. Doing this means we could tailor our talking points so it would relate to them in some way, and also try to sway them with our own personal experiences.

On a work level I took a lot from the experience. It helped me learn that at the base of any grass roots movement is a lot of everyday people making phone calls for something they genuinely care about. It showed me what my life could be like if I decided to work in campaigns and other political movements going forward. I’m truly grateful for the experience and for Wheaton for helping it be funded.