My name is George Sales. I am a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, but for the past 35 years, I've lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I worked on President Obama’s campaign in 2008, and this time around, I have a wonderful team here in Kentucky. We knew that the President wasn’t likely to carry this state, so we’ve marshaled the good Democrats here to make sure that we still have an impact on this election, getting volunteers over to Ohio to help in any way that we can. The experience has been really terrific—it inspires me.
I’ve phonebanked and canvassed for about five campaigns, so I got my training from years of experience—but it really isn’t hard at all. I canvassed in a number of different types of neighborhoods and I absolutely love it—that’s where my heart is because it’s door-to-door and face-to-face. I’ve heard so many stories from all types of people, and what always amazes me is how folks still have hope and optimism, and they just believe in this president. I’ve learned in my work that it’s all about building relationships, so I always try to connect with the people I’m talking to—that’s what makes the difference when you’re volunteering.
We’ve got a week left, so I just want to make sure that everyone shows up at the polls—if they haven’t already voted early. For the homestretch of the election, we’re putting together a group of volunteers to head up to Ohio. At this point it’s all about getting out the vote, which we actually started on already with early voting. That’s how we’re going to win this election, so we’re going to keep it up.
I’m a Vietnam veteran, and for the years that we were in Iraq, I was always advocating for peace. That’s why it was such a relief to see the President bring our troops home. It breaks my heart that we lost a whole generation in that war. Who knows, maybe a future president was in that lot. When I came home from the war, the anti-war movement was raging and we didn’t exactly get the warmest welcome, so it means the world to have a president who is this supportive of veterans and grateful for our service. Truly, I can’t remember another president who has done more for veterans than any other before him, between showing his appreciation in speeches and giving them the opportunity to further their education and find jobs. I went to the University of Florida on the G.I. Bill, so I know just how important that is for a veteran.
I’m also gay, and when I served in Vietnam, there was never a question of whether or not you were gay. I served in an Army reserve company that got a presidential citation—and believe me, the fact that I’m gay never once came up during my time in Vietnam. It was a non-issue back in ’68, and it should be a non-issue now. So I thought that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was well overdue. I’ve met any number of gay and lesbian service members since I’ve come home. They’re doing right by their country, and the President’s support is an amazing step forward.
I recently saw the President speak at an amphitheater in Eaton Park in Cincinnati, and I was wearing my favorite button that says “Veterans for Obama.” After the event, he was walking around to shake hands and when he reached me, I told him I’m a veteran. Then the President reached into his pocket and gave me this incredible commemorative medallion and thanked me for my service. I think I was just about speechless at that point!
I’m very proud of my president. The Republicans are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him, but we are truly grassroots, we believe in canvassing and phonebanking and our ground game is what’s going to take us across the finish line.
This election will be decided by the thousands of volunteers across the country like George. Join them—commit to volunteer on Election Day.