Phonebanker Curtis Kuo talks about what brought him to volunteer for the Nevada State Democratic Party
It was scary to make dials at first, but in connecting to fellow voters, it reminded me of how the government should be working for all of us, not just themselves and a few others.
Curtis making dials from his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In Their Own Words is a feature series that I’m running on my volunteers, who are making dials to help the Nevada State Democrats elect some incredible candidates this November. Curtis is one of my long-standing volunteers and has made more than 200 dials since he has started. You can dial too! Make a difference today and reach out to me through e-mail or on Signal at +1(484)702-2952.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do for a living and what are your hobbies?
I just graduated from Penn and am taking a year off, working in a biomedical engineering lab at the University of Michigan while I apply to grad school! In my spare time, I’m enjoying living within an hour’s drive of my family for the first time in four years, and am living out a dream of mine by substituting in the cello sections of professional orchestras in the area.
Why did you decide to phonebank?
I’ve been so frustrated at the failures of the American Healthcare system, and at how boneheaded some members of Congress (and um the White House) are about the realities of climate change. In the future, I’d like to have enough of a platform to advocate for better everything, but since I can’t get there before the midterms, I thought participating in grassroots politics was a good way to help.
In 2016, I donated some money, but this time around I wanted to do more. I’m confident that the effort I’ve been putting in on the phone has been making some difference, which is a confidence I didn’t have two years ago. The catalyst for me getting involved was was when you posted about the bureaucratic inefficiencies that kept you from going to your job, forcing you to leave the country.
I commented on your post then, feeling a little ashamed that my government would do you dirty like that. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know enough about my government to help you, and then your call to action in your conclusion convinced me that I should go beyond liking posts on Facebook and really start fighting for what I believe to be right.
How has it been so far and what have you learned from doing it?
Honestly, some phonebanking sessions were really slow and people weren’t picking up and I was feeling pessimistic about my impact. But every so often, someone would be really receptive to what NVDems was trying to do, and that would give me a boost. Now, as we gain steam in the last month before the election, it’s getting even easier. Lots of people are joining us to volunteer, and we can always use more! Anyone who isn’t already volunteering, the best time to start is right now!
I’ve learned so much. Voters are just ordinary people who want the best from their politicians. It was scary to make dials at first, but in connecting to fellow voters, it reminded me of how the government should be working for all of us, not just themselves and a few others. I’ve been becoming a lot more comfortable talking to and connecting with strangers, and have realized that a lot of people will give you a chance, if you’re friendly enough.
If you could be any character from any book, who from which book?
Maybe Captain Nemo, from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea!