Serving as Staging Location Hosts Provides Unique Perspective
Burrett McBee and his wife, Rhu, are no strangers to political activity. This year, as one might expect, has been a bit different than years past. While there is more negative out there, they’re seeing more positive, in the form of new faces volunteering to help.
Burrett has been an active member in Chapter 30 since it was first organized, and the pair have been volunteering for political campaigns for years (they were highly involved in the Affordable Care Act campaign) and in recent years have opened their Tilton home as a staging location for Democratic candidates in the Lakes Region.
“We have a lovely house that’s centrally located, and it’s just the three of us — my wife and I and the cat — and because of that, we feel we can open the house and use it for this very important work,” Burrett McBee said. “This is one thing we can do and be very helpful. We all have a role to play and this is ours.”
Rhu McBee said it’s a more difficult election because people aren’t as fired up for a specific candidate as much as they’re fired up against a candidate.
“In that way, there’s a different tone to it,” she said. “Amazingly, we’re getting more and more new local people coming through the door. The engagement is up quite a bit.”
Being a staging location basically makes you a home base, a place where volunteers go before they get to work talking to voters. On weekends, canvassers show up early and grab packets with campaign materials and lists of the voters they’re supposed to talk with, then when they’re done they head back and drop off the completed packets. In addition to canvassing, which takes place there on Saturdays and Sundays, the McBees host phone banking on Thursday evenings.
“We call it the Thursday Club, which has become quite the social event,” Rhu McBee joked.
Living in what can be a fairly conservative region, Rhu McBee said as a Democrat, it’s easy to feel alone in the area. This year, though, seems to have brought more people out.
“We’re seeing more yard signs for Democrats than we recall seeing in the past,” McBee said.
Beyond just the yard signs, the election seems to have made for increased activism, too.
“The energy and concern is extremely high, and every time we open our doors, there are new people coming through,” Rhu McBee said. “That is really exciting for us.”