The early birds get the worms; Signature gathering in Brighton

The early birds get the worms; Signature gathering in Brighton

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.)

Nelson Lopatin (top left) and Richard Beers (top right) at Brighton’s Reifsteck Field, 9/31/16. From Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field

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.

Nelson Lopatin gathering signatures on Avalon Drive. Meg Upson (right) signing the petition. [Photos: David Kramer, 3/1/20]

Fran Reed [Photo: David Kramer]

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?

(left) David Kramer signing for Nelson Lopatin [Photo: Nelson]; (right) Signing for Fran Reed [Photo: Fran]

Two early bird signs in the neighborhood. [Photos: David Kramer]


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About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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