Our tireless voter registration advocate, Anna Kramer organized another successful registration and outreach event in October.
This time, it was the San Carlos Art & Wine Festival. All sorts of interested people stopped by to chat while they were on their way to perusing the many talented artists' booths. The engagement was lively, fun and informative. Below is Anna's summary of the day.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
By Anna Cheng Kramer
It was with uncertainty as I loaded our car with my husband to set up the SMGOP booth at the San Carlos Art and Wine Festival this past weekend. We had 21 volunteers, which was a great turnout, and more than enough to cover the event. And we had a much better location in the center of San Carlos Avenue; a far cry from where we were at the Salsa Festival. But we were in the land of suburban housewives who hate President Trump, and we had a Trump cutout and a MAGA hat on my husband.
Immediately after we were up and running with our booth, there was nonstop activity. Officers from the County Sheriff’s office walked by to check on us as I jokingly said you will protect us, right? They said they saw the red hats and wanted to know what was going on. Two young ladies wearing MAGA hats, Corinne and Jessica, saw our booth and came by immediately. Instead of touring the vendors, they decided to volunteer their morning to speak with people and sign petitions. Multiple officers walked back and forth by our booth the entire weekend.
It didn’t hurt our message when we had Recall Newsom petitions for everyone to sign. It was amazing how passionate people were to get rid of our liberal Governor, who has ambitions to run for President. In total, we received 164 signatures from all parts of California, 80% of which were from San Mateo County. This was the San Mateo County I have known from 1980 until recent years—a majority of conservative, outspoken freedom lovers.
Almost everyone who came up to our booth thanked us for being brave and for being there. I realized then that the Democrats have won through intimidation. I reminded everyone that our forefathers fought and died for our liberties and freedom, we cannot let anyone intimidate and silence us. We spoke with Democrats, No Party Preference, and anti-Trump individuals sometimes agreeing, or agreeing to disagree, and sometimes simply walking away when it was a one-way conversation. While many onlookers showed displeasure towards our booth decor, only two Democrats were uncivil. I guess they believe they are above President Trump when they expressed profanities.
But the best moment was when we spoke with a young Chinese male who had just registered as a Democrat. I asked him why he registered Democrat and he answered because Democrats care. Our team immediately engaged him. He told us his parents work very hard and he cannot afford a car or a house. We explained what California’s sanctuary city and illegal immigration policies mean for his hardworking family struggling with the high cost of living and tax burden. After realizing what he hears from the media isn’t all true, he re-registered as a Republican. In total, we registered 12 Republicans (4 re-registered from Democrats and 4 re-registered from No Party Preference). What a surprise as my voter registration experience at the Liberty Forum booth in Mountain View was nothing like this.
Another surprise was an African American who spoke with my husband, Cliff, for a while and he agreed to volunteer at our citizenship swearing in ceremony on October 22nd. Turns out he’s a Democrat but has voted for Bush and other Republicans. I told him he could certainly volunteer with us and if he didn’t enjoy the experience, he could always go to the Democrat’s booth which was next to ours at the Heritage Theater. He said he was volunteering because Cliff engaged him and he liked him well enough to attend an event. If we could only get over divisive labels and reach each other as human beings, what a great world this would be.
A friend had suggested that I give away freebies at the booth to attract people. Another volunteer I met previously agreed to help with producing buttons for giveaways. After some last-minute brainstorming and design, a rush order was place of 200 buttons with our Republican logo and “AGAINST ALL ODDS” as our message. The cost ran high so I said I would test selling them to cover some of the costs. Amazingly, we grossed $200 and netted $150 to defray a portion of the production cost. At $2 per button, that meant we sold 100 buttons for the weekend! We probably could have made more if we had Trump hats.
The high energy surrounding our booth was bolstered by the presence of several Republican candidates getting signatures for their names to be on the ballot. Ran Petel worked all afternoon until his wife pulled him away so he could go to his son’s birthday dinner. When we told everyone he was running against Jackie Speier, people crowded around his clip board to get their signature on his petition. Mark Gillum brought his petition, pens, brochures, and message to everyone who he could speak with. The lack of activity around the Democrat’s Register to Vote booth was in sharp contrast to ours.
I was able to obtain sufficient signatures to put my name on the ballot at this event and met many of my fellow Republicans in District 3. The large number of younger couples in San Carlos and Belmont who were Republicans also surprised me. In fact, my volunteer sign-up sheet quickly filled up the first day as I had brought only one page thinking not many people were going to sign up. I ended up with 34 people signing up as future volunteers.
Many Peninsula women wanted engagement and I was able to refer them to not only SMGOP but also the Mid-Peninsula Republican Women Federated (MPRWF). The extra newsletter copies rapidly ran out; however, I was able to hand out MPRWF business cards and tell people that State Senator Mike Morrell would be at the luncheon event next Wednesday. Many of them even wanted to come down to Campbell to assist me with registering new citizens at the swearing in ceremony.
As we approached the last two hours of the festival on Sunday, I reached my lowest energy level. Then my three enthusiastic younger Asian women volunteers, Avon, Terry, and Eva waltzed into our booth and immediately started greeting people and educating them on the values of freedom and liberty. All three were of Chinese descent and had immigrated legally to this country for some time. Just like the Russian couple I met from New Jersey, they knew what communism was all about. These three ladies work hard in Oakland at the citizenship swearing in ceremonies to educate people on what the Democratic Party is really all about.
In summary, despite my exhaustion of being on my feet both days 9:00 to 6:00, the overwhelmingly positive reception energized me. So many people are counting on us to lead the charge, to give them hope, direction, and purpose. We are building a community where our values of a strong family, a good education, a lawful society, an accountable government, can be preserved and our faith and freedom to express our beliefs can be protected.