If you happen to go door-to-door for the President in Hampstead, NH there's a pretty decent chance you're going to meet Carolyn and Andy. In fact, their house may very well be your home base for the day, because the couple has been opening their home to volunteers practically every single weekend. And not just opening their home, but opening their kitchen.
Here's a quote from Carolyn that'll give you a taste of just how hospitable these two are:
“I think the best thing you can do to make someone feel welcome is to have something homemade cooking in the oven. These volunteers have been walking around all morning talking to voters. They deserve to come back to a treat.”
When we dropped by on Saturday, the treat in question was a kitchen full of home made biscuits and apple bread. And after being out on the doors, it's nothing short of amazing.
Carolyn will tell you that it's just the Southern hospitality instilled growing up in Tennessee. But she'll also tell you that growing up in a family with modest means meant learning quickly that it was important to share what you had with the folks in the thick of it with you–that way, no one goes to bed hungry.
Her parents had only one high school diploma between the two of them and they worked hard to make sure Carolyn and her sisters had access to opportunities they never had themselves:
“My sisters and I all have college degrees. I really see education as a stepping stone to other opportunities. I had the chance to teach second grade for a few years and I had so many wonderful students. When everyone in the classroom learned to care about each other, we all learned.”
Carolyn says her experiences growing up, getting an education, and becoming an educator herself, all exemplify why she’s supporting President Obama–because the President believes ours should be a country where everyone who is willing to work hard can make their life better for themselves and for their kids.
Carolyn makes a persuasive case, as her husband Andy can attest. He was a Republican before he met Carolyn, but not anymore.
“I grew up in a comfortably middle-class family. I was the kind of kid who would forget about my Christmas presents by summer and just look forward to the next batch. Carolyn, on the other hand, still has one of her childhood dolls because she always cherished every gift she received. That, I think, really reflects the difference in our circumstances growing up. "My perspective on things really shifted when I met her. I learned to put myself in other people’s shoes and consider how things will influence other people's everyday lives.”
Andy's worldview shifted again in 2000, when he was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, an incurable form of cancer. In 2010, he found out the cancer had advanced. He wasn’t expected to live past Christmas.
He's still with us, still at the house in Hampstead, still helping Carolyn serve biscuits and apple bread to tired canvassers every weekend.
But for these two–and for the countless Americans in similar circumstances– the the conversation about health care is about a whole lot more than premiums and co-pays. The choice we have to make in this election isn't just about what kind of country we're going to be, it's about the everyday lives of the American people.
“I’m not looking for a handout and neither is any one else. I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance and will be covered with my current plan until I’m eligible for Medicare. The reason I’m championing this issue is because not everyone is as fortunate. It’s not because they’re lazy or won’t take responsibility for themselves as Romney believes -- sometimes you can’t help the situation you’re in and that shouldn’t be the deciding factor in whether you’ll have access to heath care.”
“For me, health care reform is not a partisan issue. It didn’t matter to me whether it was the Democrats or Republicans who put a viable plan on the table. But now, the Republican party just keeps talking about repealing Obamacare. No one should be at risk of financial ruin because they had the misfortune of becoming seriously ill.”