If the last seven months of managing Ed Suslovic’s campaign for City Council, District 3, taught me anything, it was that, regardless of the partisan and negative political landscape in America today, the community of Portland, Maine, is alive and well. In fact, it’s better than ever.
Ed and I knew from the start that winning the campaign would be a collective effort of many helping hands. Such a goal is easy to make, but often more difficult to put in practice. After an exhaustive campaign, stretching from late March, when Ed and I had our first campaign meeting and I accepted the position of campaign manager, to last night at 8:35pm, when the final tally was released from Woodfords Church, I am proud to say that we ran our campaign exactly how we had originally idealized.
There are so many people I wish to thank, and I’m sure that Ed has an even longer list. I’ll try to do justice to everyone who helped Ed win; but in reality, every Portlander, every person who sent words of encouragement to Ed or me, and every person who believes in the democratic process deserves my complete appreciation.
First off, I would like to thank Will Mitchell and his campaign manager, a friend of mine, Rob Kardell for running an exemplary campaign. Will brought to the table new ideas for the district and presented them to voters in an accessible fashion. He earned the respect from peers and colleagues alike, and used these endorsements to work even harder. Most importantly, Will, with the help of Rob, took the high road with their campaign. No bitter words or ill wishes were ever exchanged between our campaign and his, which not only made my job easier, but also served as a testament to the strong values and principles of Will and Rob. I hope that Will stays involved in the Portland political scene and, in another race, he might certainly earn my support.
Secondly, I would like to thank the countless volunteers, encouragers, and advocates for Ed who helped us along the way. Whether you put up a yard sign, donated five dollars on our website, sent a letter into the newspaper, helped give out literature to District 3 voters, talked up Ed to your friends and neighbors, sent us words of appreciation and wished us luck, or held up an Ed sign at the polls yesterday, you truly made this campaign a collective effort. There are far too many volunteers than can be named individually, but just know that Ed and I are forever grateful for your help and assistance.
Thirdly, I would like to thank every District 3 voter and resident, regardless of if you voted for Ed, voted against Ed, or didn’t vote at all. I thank you for believing in Ed’s vision for Portland, welcoming Ed on your porch at any point since July while he was campaigning, and for electing him to be your next City Councilor. I know I can speak for Ed in saying that he looks forward to meeting those residents he hasn’t yet met, and he looks forward to working with all of you during his time on the City Council. If you are ever in need of contacting Ed, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is 772-5615. He’d love to hear from you.
Fourthly, I would like to thank my family and friends for their continuous support and open-mindedness when I first began, and throughout my working with, the campaign. I thank my parents for putting up with me and recognizing, and accepting, that I prioritize things a bit differently than your average teenager. I thank my family and close friends who offered me consistent encouragement and assistance whenever I needed any. And I thank my girlfriend, who not only tolerated my long discussions about the campaign, but spent nine hours yesterday holding an Ed sign in the bitter cold in front of the Italian Heritage Center.
Lastly, I would like to thank Ed. It’s not every day when an experienced politician decides to hire an 18-year-old then-high school senior to run his campaign. I thank him for putting his faith in me, and for often valuing my opinion above his own. I thank him for not rejecting my twice-a-day phone calls in the final stretch of the campaign, and I thank him for sticking to the strategy we developed back in mid-April. Mostly, I thank him for making this campaign so easy for me- after all, when you have a candidate who commits to talk to, or at least knock on the door of, every likely voter in his district, it makes your job a whole lot easier.
This experience meant a lot to me. It gave me hope in politics at a time when many are in despair over the national state of things. It offered me experience in helping a community leader who I hold in the highest regard in getting his message out to his district. It provided me a great way to procrastinate from Chinese homework in the last two months.
But most of all, it made me realize how great a place Portland really is. Cambridge has been pretty nice thus far but, after my experience with this campaign, I can confidently say it ain’t got nothing on Portland.