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rich^kolker

Copy of email:

Don,

Shortly after last year's election I wrote you an
email suggesting you make the race against George
Allen and pledging my support, both financial and
physical, in that race.

I read this morning that you are considering it, and
that others are also encouraging you, so I once again
say "go for it." The dedication and leadership I saw
you provide, first hand, to the Dean campaign in
Virginia, and your long history of service to party,
state and country makes you an ideal candidate. I am
sure there is a long line of people behind me (and in
front of me) from 2004 who are also ready to step up
and go to work.

I'm running for the state Central Committee, and if I
succeed at the 10th District Democratic Convention in
May I will be happy to help support you within that
body as well, but in any case, I am ready to go to
work.

All the best, and please keep me informed.

++rich
Rich Kolker
Ashburn, VA

Elaine Owens

Just like Maura, I had been a "sort of" volunteer in a few Democratic campaigns - working a shift at phone banks, etc. - until I came across a fellow named Howard Dean very early in 2003 and began to volunteer in earnest. I found out from that experience the exhilaration that can come from really working the grassroots - tabling, getting petition signatures, hosting a Dean Meetup, working my polling place on election day - doing whatever it took. We didn't win, but Howard Dean also retaught me a lesson I had learned long ago from my parents and then forgot..."If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
I had voted for Don Beyer every time he ran for office, but my first meeting came during the Falls Church Sleepless Summer Rally. That was the first in the nationwide campaign swing, and Don was in charge of organizing it. No one knew how it would turn out. Would the crowd be big enough to have an impact? Would the logistics work? For me, could I actually speak in front of a large crowd and explain why I wanted Howard Dean to be my president?
There was no need to worry. Don had the whole thing organized to a "T," and the 4,500 people who attended set the successful tone for the whole tour. Don also put me at ease, acted as a gracious host for all of us taking part in the rally, and gave me my first chance to meet Howard Dean personally!
Don Beyer is a gracious man with huge leadership skills. He should have been governor of Virginia, but he will make a splendid senator if he decides to run.
I saw another side of Don on two other occasions. I took a young volunteer from Hollins University up to Falls Church so that she could experience the "all-nighter" that Headquarters was having the night before the Iowa primary. Don was there for most of the time, along with his eldest daughter. The warm, loving family relationship he has with her was evident to all. It was obvious to me that he lives family values every day.
When I had a heart attack and bypass surgery last summer, my friend and fellow "deaniac" Bobbi contacted Don's assistant Sandy and several other folks from the Dean campaign, including Julie and Jennifer. The night before my surgery, I got a phone call from Don wishing me the best. And...the day I came home from the hospital, Don had arranged for Howard Dean to call me wish me well.
If anyone needs proof that Don Beyer and Howard Dean are different from the average politicians, that experience proves it. I'm not a big contributor to anything. I don't have influential friends that a politician tries to court. After all, I'm simply a retired school teacher. However, Don and Howard truly believe in the power of grassroots activity and value each and every one of us.
You can take it to the bank that I will work as hard as I can to see Don Beyer elected if he runs for the Senate - or for any other office for that matter!
Elaine

STEPHEN SPITZ

DON SHOULD DEFINITELY RUN AGAINST ALLEN IF MARK WARNER DOES NOT.

Virginia Yellow Dog Dem

As my name suggests, I'd vote for a yella dog before I'd vote for a Republican. But as a Virginia Democrat, unfortunately, sometimes I've felt like I WAS voting for a yella dog! In these parts of Virginia, I don't get too many chances to vote for a real Democrat, but I it would warm my heart to get to vote for Don Beyer again.

Like Elaine above, I was no big volunteer with the Dean campaign. And I'm no big leftie - I honestly first liked Dean because he balanced budgets, talked honestly about Bush's lies about the war and NCLB, and had a history of being endorsed by the NRA.

Yeah, the NRA. I'm not a gun nut, but I do own guns. So I supported Dean, and when Don Beyer came down here to talk about him, I went to see him and remembered how much I've missed voting for Democrats like him.

Senator Don Beyer sounds great. Sign me up.

Corinne

I met Don Beyer when he ran against Gilmore and he struck me as a decent guy. I was sorry Beyer lost but I was glad to see him working on Dean's campaign.

I'd vote Beyer in a heartbeat.

Kathy

An excellent article by Maura and a great comment by Elaine. Love the school analogy, Maura. In fact, I've said recently that the reason the American political scene feels so bad right now is because it's like reliving high school: the smirking, bullies and BMOCs are in charge. But there's another way. And we've seen it on the national scene with Howard Dean and here in Virginia with Don Beyer. Elaine is right. He should have been governor.

Don Beyer really brought me into the Dean campaign. One day in 2003, he called me up. I am not used to hearing from former Lt. Governors. I had met him --along with hordes of other people-- in campaigns past. But this time, Don had heard that I was interested in bringing Howard Dean to Virginia and into the White House. Don was to speak about Howard in our town and needed local organizers for the meeting. I was already sold on Howard Dean, but what was striking at that time was how many friends Don still has in our small town. Don's articulate and powerful presentation showcased the values we want in the Senate. No re-framing necessasry. He was already saying what he believed and persuading as he did so.

Though many in our town were away that night, seventy people, all whom think of Don as a friend, showed up. From there, it was on to the Sleepless Summer Tour. I heard Elaine Owens for the first time. And I saw Howard Dean on person for the first time. I became a Meetup host for the first time. But both in our town that summer night, and at the Sleepless Sunner Tour in Falls Church, I had the distinct feeling that Don Beyer was meant for more. Let's hope this is it. I can already imagine having a Senator we can actually write to, one who believes: that we should only go to war based on necessity and evidence, that we should provide insurance accessibility for all citizens, that we balance the federal budget and pay down the deficit, that we treat people of this country and the world with respect, that social security should be protected, that the environemnt should be protected, and that school kids shouldn't be left behind by sham Bush programs. Think of it: honor, civility, conscience, compasssion replacing the current smug, smirky, bully ("knock their teeth down their whiney throats")uncivil, ideologue taking up space as the Jr. Senator. It's a great week after all.

rich^kolker

You knew it was coming...

Unofficial Don Beyer for Senate Website

http://beyerforsenate.org

Adam Sharp

Like so many others of my generation, I was launched into national politics by the Dean campaign. At least I knew about national politics, though.

When I hosted Don Beyer at James Madison University in November 2003, I knew very little about Virginia politics pre-2001, and I only introduced Don as the national treasurer of the Dean campaign. I remember him smiling faintly, but I didn't know why.

Afterwards I was told Don was the former lieutenant governor of Virginia. I tried to apologize for the oversight, but he just laughed and reassured me it was fine.

We need more leaders with the grace and modesty Don demonstrates every day. He has my full support for the U.S. Senate and I hope to introduce him again, this time with a full description of his service to this state and his qualifications for the office he deserves.

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