By Annette Gross
“You have bronchitis.”
This is what my doctor told me a few weeks ago. I responded, jokingly, by telling him to “blame the Clintons.” Why? I had just spent the past few weeks working at the Hillary campaign office in Indianapolis – to bring the message to Hoosiers that Hillary is the best choice for President of the United States.
I am a Democrat-by-birth. I grew up in a union household, and my parents only voted for Democrats. Born in the Bronx, I was not used to living in a state that was predominantly Republican. So I felt I had to work twice as hard to make sure that Hillary becomes our next president. I began by spending nine hours in front of Arlington High School on Election Day, obtaining 200 signatures to get Hillary on the state ballot. Now I was ready for the next step.
At the beginning of April, the Hillary campaign opened a field office in Indianapolis. On Opening Night, my husband and I headed over there to join the other Hillary supporters and officially become volunteers. I knew some of the staff but had never met Marcella Jewell, who was in charge of the office. I connected with Marcella immediately – we were on the same page! I began volunteering by making phone calls and entering data. I tried to be at the office as much as I could.
The first exciting event that occurred was when President Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Hillary campaign office. The campaign arranged for me to be on the list to have my photo taken with President Clinton. It was such an exciting moment to stand next to Bill, with his arm around me, having our photo taken!
But that wasn’t the end. That Friday, Chelsea came to the office to speak on behalf of her mother. A beautiful, poised young lady, she spoke without script and answered questions following her talk. I was able to get a photo with her too – another exciting moment.
On Sunday, May 1st, Hillary was scheduled to speak at a rally in Indianapolis. As one of the volunteers, I helped guide people with disabilities to sit in the limited seating area. This would be the third time I would hear Hillary speak – I heard her twice in 2008. After being introduced by Congressman Andre Carson, Hillary gave a wonderful speech, touching on employment, civil rights, U.S. and world security, and the environment.
When she was finished, she walked around the barrier, shaking hands of her admirers. I was able to get to the front so I could not only shake her hand, but get a selfie photo taken of us. As I shook her hand, I told her that I had organized the anti-RFRA and Women’s Rights rallies in Indiana – she said to keep up the good work!
I just received my Hillary Card today. I am more than ready to begin the next phase of volunteering for Hillary! A field office is planned to open again, and I want to be on the front lines. I am convinced that she is the best person to lead our country – she is ready to start the job on Day One.
Annette Siegel Gross joined Indianapolis PFLAG in 2001, after her son came out as gay. She has served on its board as President and Program Chair and is currently the Chair for Publicity and Advocacy, as well as PFLAG State Coordinator for 10 Indiana chapters.