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In The Mix Politics Ability

COLUMN: Public Service Takes a Team Approach

effort to get name on ballot an example of collaboration

Katherine Schneider |

ANYBODY HOME? Collecting signatures to run for public office often involves knocking on doors. (Public domain)
ANYBODY HOME? Collecting signatures to run for public office often involves knocking on doors. (Public domain)

This is not an infomercial for Schneider for Supervisor! It is the story of the team it takes and the fun along the way to get me the 50 signatures I needed  to be on the ballot April 5. All over the county, 28 other incumbents, plus an unknown number of challengers, did similar canvassing.

The extras in my story come about because of my blindness. I could not do this by myself, so I built a team. 

For an introvert like me, this was hard work. Meeting new neighbors and hearing people’s ideas and issues made it good work.

Katherine schneider

On the team:

  • A retired gal who loves to shop thrift stores and scored a clipboard for me.
  • A retired faculty member who produced an advertising card for me that was described as “professional” by a media specialist.
  • A husband and wife and their 9-year-old, and several other friends, who took time out of busy lives to go door-to-door with me.
  • A friend who went around her apartment building which is in my district and scored 20  signatures.
  • Friends who drove me to the Courthouse to pick up and later drop off my papers.
  • Several people who can’t go door-to-door, who agreed to be on my prayer team to support my being my best self when doing county business.
  • Voters in the district who signed for me. My oldest signer is 92 and my youngest is 18. One gal was one of the first three women on the County Board back in the ’60s. She said one person wouldn’t sign for her and just told her to go home because women shouldn’t be out there on boards. She went on to serve both on the County Board and eventually the City Council as well.  Only one person said “I don’t think so” when asked to sign.
  • My Seeing Eye dog was a perfect gentleman, just standing there letting the house dogs sniff him or tell him to get off their property.

The people who walked with me described Christmas decorations or made a game out of trying to predict if anyone was home. Of course, the 9-year-old had the best line. After listening to my intro several times about this just being signing to get me on the ballot and the person wasn’t committing themselves to vote for me, she told the next person, “You don’t have to vote for her!”  

For an introvert like me, this was hard work. Meeting new neighbors and hearing people’s ideas and issues made it good work. The weather gods were with me and I got the requisite number of signatures before it turned bitterly cold. 

The friend who brought pizza to celebrate the end of signature gathering made the perfect ending to a project that was way more fun as a team event than a solo. Interdependence, a necessity for those of us with disabilities, once again proved to be the better way to go.

See you at the polls on April 5 for city, county, and school board elections!


Katherine Schneider is a retired clinical psychologist, an author, and a member of the Eau Claire County Board, where she is running unopposed for another term. She blogs at kathiecomments.wordpress.com and can be reached at schneiks@uwec.edu.