Ok, it’s a little late for Thanksgiving. But I was too busy cooking to give thanks properly, and to do it properly I have to tell you a story. Last week, I wrote about a Mexican man I met in South Tucson who wanted to build a wall, and why I feel like we have to address even misguided concerns.
This week, let me tell you about a different Mexican man in South Tucson, one who invited me in when I knocked on the door with my campaign lit. He sat me down in his kitchen, and talked about respect. About how he works hard, pays his insurance, cleans not only his home but the public areas in his complex on weekends. How his daughter started a company that employs many people. How he sends washers and dryers down south of the border to anyone who needs them. And he asked, even with all that he does, why is he not respected in this country? Why are other families who work hard and just want to build a life targeted by deportation?
We talked a while, and I brought the conversation around to this election. He was frustrated – he told me, ‘I voted, I voted for Obama – and what good did it do?’ He was disgusted with the deportations that happened under the Obama administration, and wasn’t sure he could bring himself to hope and vote Democrat again. I spread out the literature, including Raul’s piece – you know, the one that said: “It’s not the Dog in the Fight, its the Fight in the Dog.” I love that one. And as soon as he saw Raul’s photo, he stopped and said – he helped me, he helped my wife. When she needed some documentation from a government agency, Raul’s staff got on the phone and made it happen.
Then he looked a little sheepish. He had been so disgusted, that he’d thrown out his ballot. But he told me, that because I’d come and we’d talked, that he’d call the number and get another one. And the next week, it happened I drew his complex again on my walk list, and I met his wife. She had the new ballot in an envelope on the counter, ready to go out. But if it hadn’t been for Raul really doing his job, going the extra mile, that might not have happened.
Outstanding constituent service
Raul Grijalva’s office got the first ever Outstanding Constituent Service award for a reason. Whenever I get frustrated trying to get thru to McSally’s staff on something important, I call Raul’s office, and lead with “Hi, I’m not in your district anymore, but…” and get an email contact with a staffer who genuinely tries to help, and will engage in a conversation over email. If you’ve ever tried to lobby Congress, you know how rare that is – usually “I’ll tell them your concern” is the first line of defense, and even if you breach that wall the best most offices will do is let you leave a voice mail for a named staffer. I was disappointed right now with Sinema’s people, who are using “in transition” as an excuse apparently until January – hopefully, that will change. But Raul is always on it.
I’ve asked him for help with monks being shot in Myanmar back when we were trying to get Aung San Suu Kyi free (and before she backed killing the Rohingya). Raul co-sponsored the no blood rubies bill. I’ve buttonholed him in Epic Cafe about animal rights and the size of chicken cages, and he listened and gave me a staff member to contact. A neighbor asked him for help when his son was hurt on leave after two tours in Iraq, and his staff met in person with him to see what could be done. Raul has the back of everyone fighting for the right thing, and I hope we have his when it comes down to it.