My Thoughts on the Campaign Trail

On June 2nd, I had the pleasure of canvassing for the Nicole Haagenson campaign in Fellsmere, FL. Nicole is running for Florida District 54.  A group of community members, including myself, had the opportunity to spread our excitement for Nicole and her platform on issues such as education and vocational training, healthcare, and the environment. At the end of the event, we were all able to sit down at a centralized park and share our experiences talking about Nicole and learning about new issues that were expressed to us.

This feedback loop with my fellow canvassers gave me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what I had learned and what I would be able to take away from the experience. To start, this was not only special as my first time out in the community canvassing, it was also important to me as a native of Indian River County.

I have lived as a resident in the Vero Beach area since I was five, and in volunteering for Nicole, I have learned surprising information: I am vastly out of touch with my own community.

As a rising senior at Gettysburg College in small town Pennsylvania, I am only home over the summer and winter breaks. Though I still consider Indian River to be my home, I have found that I know more about the migrant community and food insecurities in Gettysburg than I know about the poverty and wage gap, healthcare, and environmental issues here in Indian River.

Canvassing for Nicole allowed me to gain perspective on what I thought I knew. I talked to new people, and learned from both those whose doors I knocked on, as well as my fellow canvassers. We talked about issues of education, especially adult English to Spanish learning classes; we talked about local and eminent environmental issues, and we talked about what made us gravitate toward volunteering for a Democratic candidate.

I found that many are disgusted by the events that are occuring in our country each day, such as the Parkland shootings, immigration raids, etc. Others are frustrated with our state and national government.

No matter the reason, our conversations allowed me to realize that after sixteen years of living in Vero Beach, there were other like-minded people around me that both care about the same issues and have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table. And, while I truly believe differing opinions are important, it was refreshing to have these stimulating conversations about issues that I did not previously understand existed within my own community.

–Rebecca Holden, Intern, Democrats of Indian River