My name is Marie Crawford. I’m a lifelong Midwesterner—I attended 4-H meetings on Adlai Stevenson’s farm as a young girl in Illinois—and I’m a volunteer with President Obama’s re-election campaign in Mankato, Minnesota.
I’ve been in Mankato for nearly 40 years now, so I consider myself a true Minnesotan—even if I don’t say some of the words the way folks here do.
The economy is one of the big issues for people in Minnesota, and Mankato especially. We’re a college town, so you’ll see a lot of young people who are getting ready to graduate and doing their best to find a job. People here are also very committed to pushing back against things like restricting marriage to one man and one woman or passing laws that would cut down on voting rights.
Tonight I’m hosting a meeting at my home for my neighborhood team—we call ourselves the “Prairie Progressives” because we live in a prairie area of the state. Our group is focused on spreading the word about President Obama, so one of the things we’re doing right now is organizing to get other volunteers on board to help out. We’ve done everything from phone banks to writing letters to the editor, and I’m hoping to spend some time holding forums at assisted living communities to make sure older folks who are sometimes pushed to the side have the chance to get together and hear the latest news. What I like best is going out and talking to people. I love hearing different ideas from different people, and maybe trying to change their minds if they’re open to it.
One of my earliest memories of supporting Barack Obama was during the caucus and primary season leading up to 2008. Our local caucuses were just overwhelmed by people voting for him, and that was something to see: thousands of people coming out for Obama. That’s when I knew I had to be a part of this.
Of course, this isn’t my first campaign. I decided I was a Democrat when my fourth grade history textbook described the difference between the Democrats and the Whig Party. It said the Democrats were more for the common man, and I thought: “Well, I’m for the common man, too—sounds like I’m a Democrat.” I’ve only gotten more liberal over the years, and my views are that much stronger.
I’d say my most fundamental belief is in equality—that drives the rest of my politics. I have a daughter and a granddaughter, so of course women’s rights are something I think about a lot, not only for myself but also for them. I’m always looking at which party will be able to support my ideas about giving everyone a fair chance.
This is a very important election, and it will set the tone for our country for generations to come. We have someone leading right now who is absolutely wonderful on issues like women’s rights, the economy, and equalizing power—that’s why I’m going to spend the next seven months working to make sure he stays right where he is.
So if you’re ever in Mankato, you’re more than welcome to join the Prairie Progressives—we’d love to have you. And no matter where you live, I hope you’ll come on board and help do this.