leaving everything on the field

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Among my fellow candidates running for political office, we have an expression these last days of the campaign: have you left everything on the field?

Having graduated college from a Division-1 football powerhouse, it's a comfortable metaphor for me; it means have you played your heart and soul out and left every ounce of effort on the field?

To this candidates for elective office that expression means, have I done EVERYTHING I can do to:

- knock on doors and meet constituents
- hear and understand their concerns
- learn about the issues
- communicate my priorities
- engage and energize volunteers
- and leave no stone unturned in painting a vision for a hopeful and prosperous Vermont that values human dignity?

My bone-tired self this last weekend before Election Day on Tuesday can respond with an emphatic, wholehearted, "YES!"

Last evening as Mark and I hung my last hundred door-hangers along Perry Drive in Essex, an elderly woman putzing in her darkened garage took my literature.

Moments later she called down the driveway:

“I already voted,” she said, and “I voted for you.”

“Thank you for your vote!” I responded enthusiastically, unable to make out her face.

“You are welcome,” came her response into the fading autumn light.

It was the perfect, poignant conclusion to weeks of canvassing begun last August in 95-degree heat.

I'd weathered a couple of slammed doors and one dog bite, but mostly encountered Vermonters brimming with graciousness and hospitality - and intense concern about their community and the state of the world.

Running for the Vermont State House has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

It has forced this happy introvert to reach beyond my comfort zone, to be a daily model of civility and respect, to pour my energy into a new vehicle for service, and to ask myself continuously what the common good looks like when its comes to a humane mental health system or affordable housing, among so many other issues.

I respectfully request your vote on Election Day and can happily say that I've left everything on the field - and that feels good, really good.

P.S. I'll be at the polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day (at Essex Middle School). I hope to see you there!

Marybeth Redmond