I met sandy over 10 years ago while I was still a high school senior at Trinity Prep in Winter Park. I had already become active in the political process volunteering my time on campaigns and as a result was attending Republican Executive Commtitee meetings, Young Republican Club socials, and Republican Women’s Club lunches.
Sandy was the featured speaker at the Orlando Women’s Club for her then-race for State House District 33, and since I lived in the district I wanted to go hear her speak. I brought my mom, Gilda, with me. We listened to Sandy and we were so moved by her story.
We listened as she explained her desire to serve our country by joining the Air Force and meeting her husband. How she left that abusive marriage to protect her daughter. She had to work several jobs to make ends meet. Determined, she put herself through police academy to serve as a deputy sheriff.
Then she lost her second husband in the line of duty and that is what brought her to advocacy. We were impressed that she wanted to serve her community in yet another way.
After the meeting we immediately volunteered. We went to work walking from house to house. At the time, Sandy had broken her foot and was in a cast but she was determined to work the grassroots and meet voters. Gilda drove her from house to house. I left to go off to college at FSU but Gilda continued to help Sandy, everyday.
Everyone told Sandy she couldn’t win. Everyone told her that her opponents had too much money. Everyone told her she was a “nobody”. Everyone told her that east Orlando would never elect a woman. She didn’t care. It made her work harder. Each time they tried to intimidate her, it just fueled the fire. Each time her volunteers were threatened she stood up for them and in return they worked harder to show their loyalty. They told more friends, put up more signs, and walked more doors. Despite the fact that she had the grassroots momentum Orlando politicos continued to belittle her.
I returned home from Tallahassee to vote in the primary and to a victory party at my parent’s house for Sandy. Almost everyone at our house that night is still here during this current campaign, still volunteering. Sandy is the type of person who is fiercely loyal and in turn has an incredibly loyal staff. They too are willing to do the true work, the grunt work, to help her.
Sandy is the type of person who wants to make you better and pushes you to be great. During that first campaign in 2002 my parents were ending their 20 year marriage. Sandy helped my mom find herself again and regain her confidence, and gave her a righteous cause to work. And in return, Gilda was a relentless cheerleader when Sandy needed it most. Her friendship with my mom has blossomed over the years and I see their close bond. It extends far beyond politics and far beyond election cycles. Sandy is a great person and an even better friend. She is selfless and kind.
This election on Tuesday feels like déjà vu. I am once again returning from Tallahassee to volunteer my time and attend yet another victory party for Sandy. Those who held their noses so high in the air and treated her with contempt are at it again. They didn’t see it before. Unfortunately from that angle they clearly cannot see again what those who volunteer on the campaign can see, that Sandy’s message and humble nature gives her constituents a quiet confidence in her as a leader. They are trying all the same tricks, trying to belittle her, trying to intimidate her volunteers, threatening her supporters and just like before it’s only fueling the fire. It’s pushing everyone to walk those 20 more doors even when it’s 105 degrees, it’s pushing them to make those 20 more calls even though it’s dinner time, and it’s making people open their wallets just a little wider.
It is so rare in politics to be a part of something so real. Sandy actually does what a representative should do. She pours over all the bills she votes on, and she’s never missed a vote. She has had 24 FACE-TO-FACE town halls with her constituents. She is responsive to those that come to her seeking help and guidance. She has cut $200,000 out of her own office budget because she knows you have to lead by example. She owns one house, in her district, and comes home as much as she can. Sandy is the real deal.
Sandy has been through this test over and over. I am walking the doors, making the calls, and handing out yard signs and I have confidence to say that she will pass again with flying colors yet again.
Editors Note: For more information on the Sandy Adams for Congress campaign, please visit SandyAdams.com.