Written by Geoff Woollacott
I am Geoff Woollacott (not an easy name to remember. If in doubt, double the letter!), a virtual unknown running for the U.S. Senate in NH as an independent nonpartisan candidate. I did not come to this decision lightly. In fact, I have mulled it over for the better part of two years. I have winced listening to what passes for political debate trying not to be angered or disheartened but struggling. I have listened to person after person say essentially the same things:
- That they identify with neither party.
- That they feel their vote really does not matter; that the political parties are more concerned with preserving their power base and protecting the wealthy special interests who donate to their campaigns.
We have to change that. We have to restore a sense of trust and fairness to the political process. Trust and voter participation are the fundamental underpinnings of a vibrant democracy,
So, I decided I “couldn’t not do it.” It’s a double negative, but it is what kept going over and over in my head as I agonized over this decision.
In February I negotiated a part time sabbatical from my employer, Technology Business Research (www.tbri.com) a business advisory and research firm based in Hampton that focuses, as the name implies, on the business side of technology. I work for TBR three days a week to be able to campaign 4 days a week. Yes, I am taking a 40% pay cut to do this. I am lucky that I can, and fortunate to have an understanding employer.
I took an extended vacation in March, visiting sons who live in Wyoming and Colorado. I got a little family time and a second crack at “West Coast Skiing.” I can’t say I missed the ice often found here in New England (I’ve skied Cannon for 47 years. I know ice!), but I certainly missed the oxygen. Skiing at 12,000 feet in Colorado was a bit of a challenge. You’ll see a snowy peaked picture with a Red Blob skier at the bottom. My nephew took that picture of me as he was serving as my Sherpa guide at Copper Mountain in Colorado. I like the imagery as we think about what we have before us in terms of critical policy matters to address.
Since April, I have been part time at work and figuring out all the campaign administration:
- Registering with the IRS to get an appropriate EIN number.
- Creating a bank account and loaning some money to get started.
- Registering with the FEC and seeking to make sure I remain in compliance with those guidelines.
- Talking to the Secretary of State’s office to determine the appropriate way to populate a Nomination Paper.
- Making sure I understand all the paper based, labor intensive processes required to get my name on the ballot for the November election, so the people of NH have an alternative to the two major parties. This includes:
- Needing 1,500 signatures in each Congressional District even though the Congressional Districts have yet to be settled.
- Having to have the “wet signatures” from each individual voter.
- Sorting those petition signatures sorted by town and delivered to the Supervisors of the Checklist in each town by August 10.
- Having all approved signatures from the towns into the Secretary of State’s office by September 7th.
- Working with developers, subscribing to software, and writing copy for the website.
- Building the wish list of additional software and staff positions to add to the campaign effort if donations come in. It is sad, but true. I had to work on a website to prove the seriousness of the campaign and to generate money. Not millions mind you, but enough to build staff and get organized. My opponents will certainly have the advantage there. Let them. The parties are not speaking to the sensible center.
I encourage you to explore the website. Email with any questions you may have. If what is here resonates, then I encourage you to sign up to help either with time or with funds.
At the very least, I hope you will request a PDF of the Signature form to fill out and mail back to me. Signing the petition does not represent an endorsement of me, it represents interest in seeing a broader selection of candidates than those coming from the two parties who are increasingly more to the left or right than the average voter. We have to take back the national debate from the polarized views of the party flanks.
We in NH take pride in doing our civic duty every four years in the presidential cycle, and we have the opportunity to send a message ahead of that cycle in this highly contested off year election by rejecting both parties. The national narrative has to change in order for is to forward focused.
Lead the way, New Hampshire. You do it well, and it is needed now more than ever.