Last Monday, volunteers got together at Progressive Maryland’s Silver Spring office to call Maryland residents urging them to contact their Senators in this campaign to win Clean Elections in Maryland. So, what goes on at a phone bank anyway?
As a first time phone banker, I must say it was quite an experience. At first, it was a little unnerving to have to call people up at their homes. The fear of getting hung up on was really making me nervous. But after the first few calls and a few slices of pizza and some soda, it became more comfortable. It was also exciting to see the other volunteers come out to phone bank. I made about 25 calls to Senator P.J. Hogan’s constituents and I would say about 7-10 people said that they would make calls in to the Senator to tell them they support clean elections. It may not seem like much it makes a difference. It was also surprising that those few people really felt strongly about this issue and wanted to make a difference. It was good to see that public financing of elections was becoming something like a kitchen table issue.
As a Maryland resident, this is an exciting campaign for me because it is so close to home. Working at Public Campaign, I have seen first hand how Clean Elections has positively affected the political process in Maine in Arizona and I can't wait to bring Clean Elections to Maryland so our legislators will be accountable only to us.
The phone banks couldn’t work without our volunteers – one volunteer, Cam, has made the long drive from Galesville, Maryland where he owns his own placement firm for lawyers, to make calls to Progressive Maryland members. He agreed to talk to us a little about why he’s so committed to Clean Elections.
Q: Why is public financing of elections so important to you?
Cam: I feel that corporations have a disproportionate access to and influence on elected officials. Corporations are designed to look at short-term financial interests, not longer term interests so I think it has put the system out of balance.
Q: What other issues are of great concern to you?
Cam: Oil dependency, nuclear development in Iran, and of course cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
Q: What has your phone-banking experience been like?
Cam: It is hard work and sometimes people’s excuses to not call their legislators are pretty interesting! But for the most part the people you talk to seem interested, I’d say 10-1 they are in favor of a public financing it’s just a question of getting the supporters activated to call their Senators.
Q: Has it been a good night for calling?
Cam: I think so. I talked to eleven people who said they’d be calling Senator Hogan tonight. It’s nice to feel that immediate impact of what you’re doing.
Q: What would you say to potential volunteers about phone-banking here?
Cam: If you want to make a real difference in the campaign, this is the way to do it!
If you live in Maryland and would like to join me, Cam and our other volunteers for a night of making a difference, sign up here!