I started my new internship as a campaign organizer for Anil Kumar’s campaign for U.S. Congress recently! I had become acquainted with the job very briefly before, but I really hit the ground running after returning from a GIEU trip to Indonesia in mid-June.
Kumar is currently fighting for Michigan’s 11th Federal Congressional District, which is a (very gerrymandered) district basically covering the I-275 corridor from Canton all the way to Troy, snaking around Detroit’s western and northern borders. Currently, many of the cities included in this district traditionally tend to vote more conservatively, and Kumar is running against incumbent Dave Trott, meaning there are quite a few factors stacked up against him.
To overcome these obstacles requires a massive effort on the municipal and local levels. Therefore, the campaign has recently expanded from having only one office in Troy to a total of three offices, now including Farmington Hills and Canton. It’s a great opportunity to work in one of the newer offices, as they are both smaller and allow for me to define my own job to an extent and efforts I choose to devote the most time to. I have begun working at the Canton office focusing specifically on Plymouth-related outreach and campaigning. This includes but is definitely not limited to: phone banking (my personal least favorite), canvassing door-to-door, event organizing, and policy research. So far, I would say that about 60% of my job involves community outreach to some extent, making it crucial to have good interpersonal skills. This is especially true when trying to convince people on the fence about an issue to understand my positions and those of the campaign, certainly in a more conservative town such as Plymouth.
Having only canvassed once before and never having worked on a campaign in such an intimate fashion, I am excited to learn a lot about the inner workings of politics on a federal campaign this summer and to use the skills I’ve gained from U of M and past jobs and internships!