Name: Marge Tully
Role: Neighborhood Team Leader
Hometown: Mount Ayr, Iowa
Based in: Iowa City, Iowa
Q1. What does a day as a volunteer look like to you?
I usually spend two nights a week in the office, and then more if we have special events. On an average day, we have a brief meeting to outline what the game plan is for the evening, then sit down and make calls to voters across the state of Iowa. Lately we’ve been making women-to-women calls, talking about issues that are important to women.
Some nights we’ll plan upcoming events. For example, a few weeks ago we talked about what we wanted to do on the Fourth of July—we were able to walk in the parade with the Johnson County Democrats. It was a great time!
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign?
I started during the last election. On Election Day, I remember knocking on doors and calling people all day and then driving home after the polls closed, and having to pull over because I heard on the radio that Obama won. It was such a momentous time. I just had to pull over and cry and rejoice.
Now we have to figure out what we have to do to get this done again. With all the lies and misinformation flooding the airwaves, we have to double down and work harder. There could not be a more stark contrast between the two parties at this point. It’s a watershed moment. I just feel like it’s the most important election of my life. We have to stay on this course, we have to keep moving forward.
Q3. What's your favorite part of your role?
It’s fun living in Iowa, I won’t lie. We’re so in the process, because we have the first-in-the-nation caucuses, so it’s easy to become engaged.
Another great thing is meeting so many fascinating, fun people. I spent the day yesterday talking to two lovely ladies I’ve never met before in my life. And that’s the great thing—meeting new people all the time who have the same passion for making this country better, and energizing each other to keep going. And then you meet people that you volunteer with together for months, and when the campaign is over you have new friends.
There are people in their 80s down to kids in high school working all together—all different age groups, all different cultural backgrounds, people you’d never have a chance to meet in any other situation. This campaign gives you the opportunity to meet a bunch of wonderful people. We had this woman who was almost 80, and it was the first time she had volunteered for a campaign. How amazing is that?
Q4. What's the most unexpected part of your role?
I signed on to be a team member—I just wanted to play a supporting role and help out where I could. But then I was told, here, we need someone to lead this group. To be taken out of my comfort zone and to lead my team is something I’ve never done before. It’s fun. It gives you a new level of responsibility and a new level of commitment that feels really good, like you can really make a difference.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I have at my house, at all times, voter registration forms and vote-by-mail stuff, so I ask everyone who walks in my house: Are you registered to vote? Would you like to vote by mail? There’s no escaping. Turnout is so key in this election. A lot of people said, “Whoa, that’s great, I never thought of that—and now a lot of people have registration forms in their homes. You have to create an opportunity to have that conversation, and having those forms lets you do that.
Here’s another one: I signed up to volunteer the first time I met Joe Biden in 2007. I got to pick him up from the airport, and that’s how it started: Every time he came up to eastern Iowa, I was the one who picked him up. I drove all over eastern Iowa with Joe! It’s an opportunity not many people have.
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