A special thank you to David for including in his promotion of today’s caucus open thread, a link to that wonderful 2006 post regarding the caucuses. I got so deep in the comments, I was almost late for my early (non-politics) meeting this morning!
One commenter was enthusiastically (and accurately) extolling the virtues of the volunteer leadership responsible for the great success that year and as evidence, pointed out that the campaign had only a single organizer on staff. Although technically she had hired a couple very talented folks just before the caucuses, Nancy O’Connor Stolberg was that first singular grassroots genius. Nancy was (and remains) the best organizer I have ever known. I wish I could claim credit for hiring her, but the truth is Deval Patrick [with his keen eye for talent 😉 ] had already found her before I joined the campaign in early 2005. In fact, Nancy was responsible for introducing me to this future Governor.
Looking back at the ever-growing and expanding run of community organizing, face-to-face, grassroots campaigns that Massachusetts has experienced, it is appropriate to acknowledge and thank my friend Nancy for her leadership in that critical period.
Anyone who has worked with her, will testify to Nancy’s warm, kind and persistent nature in bringing people together for an important cause. If you marveled at the breadth and depth of the grassroots movement that seemingly “appeared” that day, you must appreciate the capacity for hard work and organizing that Nancy brought to that campaign for almost a FULL YEAR before those caucuses began. For so long, it WAS just her and the remarkable combination of the best rolodex of “Democrats who work” (BTW, that doesn’t include everyone) and a welcoming openness to engaging and empowering new people every day. Being shoulder-to-shoulder with her from the earliest days through caucus success, a convincing primary win and a November victory that ended a sixteen-year run of Republican governors, I can attest that the most important capacity Nancy added to our team was a strategic focus that kept us consistently on our grassroots game.
Nancy meticulously and painstakingly built a corps of leaders whose “volunteer” status was only because they weren’t paid – for so many, the time they gave was much more than “full time.” The capacity to nurture this team while pushing it so hard is a hallmark of the Nancy Stolberg Way.
For every organizer who finished their caucus today – or are still pulling it together for one in coming days – join me in saluting her. For every Democrat in Massachusetts and beyond who is grateful for the grassroots revival in so many places, please join me in thanking Nancy O’Connor Stolberg for all she’s done and continues to do.