Candidate Nelson Lopatin’s partner, Jaclyn Richard. Jaclyn is a past president of the Rochester (NY) NOW – National Organization for Women. [Photo: David Kramer, 3/1/20)
I’ve always known Nelson Lopatin as the “Chain Gang guy” who last season completed twenty years measuring downs at Brighton’s Reifsteck Field. (Oh, Nelson is also the president of the Brighton Chamber of Commerce.)
Today, when early bird Lopatin arrived at my door asking for signatures to be on the ballot for the New York State Assembly’s 136th Assembly District, I learned that Chain Gang Nelson is now entering the rough-and-tumble arena of electoral politics. Determining that 20 years of hard labor on the gridiron was more than qualifying, I signed Nelson’s petition.An hour or so after Nelson knocked, another early bird gatherer arrived at the door, Fran Reed, a member of the Brighton Democratic Committee. Fran offered her account of the experience:
I have been a member of the Brighton Democratic Committee since September 2018. We do a lot as members of the Committee, but what I consider the most important duty is attending the designating caucus for Democratic candidates, where we determine who we feel the most viable candidates are, and then we petition for those candidates. Petitioning is admittedly stressful for me, at least starting out. I am a staunch introvert, so knocking on doors and talking to folks I don’t know, even if they’re my neighbors, can be daunting. I was thrilled today to have such an incredibly warm reception at many doors in the Meadowbrook neighborhood. I think it helped that the temps were in the 30s, the wind had finally died down, and the sun was shining. Plus, since this is my second year petitioning in the same area, several people recognized me, making my job much easier. They realize I’m not trying to sell them anything (other than maybe an idea). The most satisfying part of petitioning, aside from knowing I’m helping get Democrats on the ballot, is connecting with neighbors that I wouldn’t otherwise necessarily interact with. My favorite ice breaker is talking about all the neighborhood flora and fauna. One woman who signed petitions for me today was even kind enough to invite me back over to come see her gardens once the weather gets a little nicer. How nice is that?