BOOTS ON THE GROUND
by Steve Fair
On Sunday forty seven (47) patriotic Oklahomans boarded a large charter bus in Oklahoma City to begin an eleven hour trip to Denver, Colorado. They are members of Oklahoma’s ‘Boots on the Ground’ deployment team. I have the opportunity to lead this diverse group of citizens who primary goal is to help turn Colorado from a blue to a red state next Tuesday. They will do that by spending a minimum of eight (8) hours knocking doors for four days in four counties. It is estimated the group will touch 25,000 plus voters before we load back on the bus on Thursday evening at 8pm for a red-eye trip back to the Sooner state.
After traveling over 700 miles on the bus, watching four movies including 2016-Obama’s America, the team arrived at the hotel at 3 am on Monday morning. After getting some sleep, they assembled for an orientation/ training meeting at 11am. After receiving instructions on how to make a quality contact, the group, ‘hit the bricks.’ A large banner in the deployment room reads, “The voter is not in the hotel- hit the bricks!” Another banner says the deployment is dedicated to the memory of Skip Healey, a political activist from Davis, Oklahoma who passed away a week ago. Healey was the first person to make a monetary contribution toward the Boots on the Ground deployment effort.
The Romney Ryan campaign team, the Colorado Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee, determined the area where the group’s efforts would be most effective were Arapaho, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson and Adams counties. After the orientation meeting, the group was spilt into four groups and loaded onto 15 passenger vans for transport to the neighborhoods. Each walker is given a list of infrequent Republican voters who they are to contact. In Colorado over seventy (70) percent of voters cast their ballot early, so the walkers are also given a list of the early voting site locations.
After arriving back at the hotel on Monday evening after dark, the group went to On the Border for dinner. During dinner, it was obvious most were weary, but the conversation centered around their experiences on the street the first day. Most still remained excited and energized. In fact four ladies decided to walk back to the hotel- a half mile trek. Some are gluttons for punishment.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the group will assemble at 9:30am and walk the streets from 10am-6pm. Tuesday night, Congressman Mike Coffman is hosting a BBQ for the deployment team at his campaign headquarters. Coffman is in a dog fight of a battle for re-election and since the battleground counties for Governor Romney are also critical for Coffman, the group is passing out material for him.
During our ride in the van to the neighborhoods, I found out that Duncan native Bob Harris is on the trip. Bob graduated from Duncan High School and now runs a computer company in Edmond. Bob parents are the late Bob and Phyllis Harris, both who were active in the local GOP for years. Bob Sr. was a trailblazer in local Stephens County politics. He ran for the state legislature as a Republican back when Republicans just didn’t field candidates south of I40. Bob didn’t win, but his efforts made it possible for others to win later, including former State Rep and Corp. Commissioner Ed Apple.
The group is diverse- an RN from the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, a CPA/documentary producer, a retired Chemist, the State Auditor, but all have the same goal- to help make President Obama a one term president. Their backgrounds vary, the average age is probably over 40, but they all gave up a week of their lives to make a difference in their government. It’s ironic when you stop and think about it-this dedicated group of people traveled for hours to knock the door of people who seldom take part in the political process. As one volunteer said, “Can’t these people see how critical this election is?” Some do, but mistakenly believe their vote will not make a difference, but as George Allen says, “the world is run by those that show up.” The volunteers for Boots on the Ground showed up.