If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an army to get a candidate elected. With campaign money usually limited, candidates rely on the energy, expertise and enthusiasm of volunteers. Last week's election was no exception.
Some of these volunteers start at a young age. Paul Krizek brought his six-year-old daughter, Chloe, to the candidate's forum at Stratford Landing two weeks ago. He said that his mother, Addy Krizek, started bringing him at a young age. It appears that politics are in his family; Krizek's father was President John F. Kennedy's campaign manager for the State of Washington and his grandfather ran for local office years ago.
"My mother was the precinct captain for Marlan Forest and started dragging me around when I was in junior high school," said Krizek. "She wanted me to get involved."
And get involved he did. As soon as he got his license, he drove people to and from events. Krizek spent two terms as the Chair of the Mount Vernon Democratic Party; he has also run several campaigns over the years.
He credits Sylvia Broida for being his mentor. "She was a terrific person, she taught me how to go door-to-door," said Krizek, who's still involved, but more on a policy level. He was at the Democrat's victory party last week, marking the numbers as they came in.
Although he's an active Democrat, Krizek said that he has made a lot of friends from the Republican party.
One of those good friends is Rick Neel, who served as chair of the Mount Vernon Republican party the same time Krizek headed the Democratic party.
"Mount Vernon has always been a fun place to work [politically]. It's competitive, exciting and it does make a difference if you vote," said Krizek.
Krizek said that he has started to bring his daughter to events, and will ask her to start helping when she's ready. "I don't want to indoctrinate her too early," he said.
Many high school students also signed on to help with this year's campaigns. Leslie Hogan, Kate Griffin, Laura Bieging, Christopher Kelly, Parker Fishel and Alexander Arnold spent a lot of time working on Delegate Kris Amundson's and Senator Linda "Toddy" Puller's re-election campaigns.
Mount Vernon High School students Marie Bergeron and Jacinda Romero worked as pages at the polls on Tuesday. They passed out sample ballots and helped where needed.
Also instrumental to the Democrat's campaign this year were people who participated in FieldWorks. Members of this canvassing group who worked at targeted precincts throughout the State of Virginia did get paid, but Ian Stone, who served as the local canvassing director, said that all of his people worked very hard.
ON ELECTION DAY, hundreds of election officers are needed to run the polls. While these people are paid $100, the fact that they are there from 5 a.m. to after the polls close at 7 p.m., makes this a labor of love. Last week, Linda Wiltshire, Radmila M. Staples, Bob Blair, Walter Loftin and Julia Romero worked the polls at Woodley Hills Elementary School.
Bob Richards was stationed at Fort Hunt Elementary School last Tuesday helping voters and handing out voting stickers. Like many others, he has been working the polls for years. These officers were especially important this year with the new voting machines. Not only were they needed to clear the machines after each voter, but they also needed to instruct voters.
As voters lined up at Fort Hunt, another officer briefed people on the process of the new machine. Most people seemed to like the machines, but the learning curve did extend the time it took to vote At Kirkside, the lines were so long that some left without voting.
Election chiefs are important as well. Keith A. Webb was the Election Chief at Woodley Hills. He said that this is his third year as chief; prior to that he worked as an election officer for 13 years. He and other chiefs were responsible for bringing all the voting equipment to Fairfax after the polls closed.
Gail Franchi was the Election Chief at Stratford Landing. She also said that they had received positive comments on the new machines, but that it took a little time for voters to figure out how to use it.