Sander Bellman of Marietta, GA retired from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995 after working for the agency as a chemist for more than 30 years. He then took up a second career as systems engineer, before retiring completely in 2003:
"Prior to the summer of 2004, I had never been involved in politics or political activism, although I voted Democratic in every election since I was able to vote. One reason that I never became more directly involved with politics was that as a Federal employee, I was forbidden by the Hatch Act from participating in partisan politics. Back in about 1963, I briefly toyed with the idea of joining the local Young Democrats chapter in Los Angeles. However, with the restrictions put on my participation, I lost interest, especially after the assassination of JFK. So it was not until I realized our country was in serious trouble in 2004, did I realize I had to do more. That summer I saw Michael Moore's movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, while vacationing in L.A. I vowed when I left the theatre that I had to get more involved with the political process than simply voting on Election Day. I became active at JohnKerry.com and hosted a house party on September 11th. From there, I worked on my new web site, signed up as a precinct captain for the Cobb County Democratic Committee, marched for Kerry/Edwards in the annual E. Cobber Parade, manned booths, canvassed my own and other precincts, became involved with Kerry and Dem meetups and totally immersed myself in the campaign."Frieda Smith writes:
"I started my political activities in 1960 during the Presidential Campaign of John F. Kennedy. At that time, we lived in a district where the Democrats were outnumbered by Republicans by a margin of 4 to 1. This was great training for my husband, Ray, and me in learning how to get out the vote. Today, this kind of political work is considered working at the grassroots level; in those years, this was the way an election was run. For 32 years, Ray and I were doing door-to-door contacts and telephone calls to get out the vote. Election Days were filled with intense work from the time the polls opened and until long after the polls closed. Our work during these years was intense and very gratifying. I was chairperson of our district three times, while Ray was chairperson of our district two times. Finally, there was not the friction and conflict between Democrats and Republicans like there is today. Often, Ray and I would sit down with our Republican counterparts after an election to discuss the results.
"During the late 1960's, Ray and I had the good fortune to meet a promising young Democrat - Joe Biden. Our district was the first in New Castle County, Delaware to endorse Joe when he first ran for political office on the County Council. As you know, the rest is history. Joe Biden and other candidates - local and statewide - benefitted from our working for percentages as well as actual votes.
"In those days, union workers were valued and utilized as election volunteers. Unions have been the backbone of the middle class in this country as well as the backbone of the Democratic Party for many years. In 1965, the Chairperson of the State Democratic Party in Delaware was an official of the UAW - can you imagine that happening now??? One of the things that I see as unfortunate here in Georgia and in the South as a whole is the lack of respect for the various Unions and how they have helped the working families of this country.
"After 17 years of living in Georgia, it is only now that Southern Democrats are utilizing the grassroots effort we used in Delaware for 32 years. We covered our district by phone, door-to door, and other methods. By working this hard, we ensured that people knew the importance of voting."
and Frieda Smith, co-chairs of East Cobb Citizens for Kerry/Edwards, and
activists who had signed up at www.eastcobbforkerry.com organized a rally
in support of the Kerry/Edwards ticket in Marietta on October 25, 2005.
To promote the rally they ran two quarter-page ads in the Atlanta Journal
and Constitution the week before, and had arranged for PSA's broadcast
from Air Atlanta during the month leading up to the event.
"Attendance ended up at somewhere between 250 and 300 people in this most conservative part of Cobb County, arguably the most conservative area in the country. As you can see from the ad attached, we had three guest speakers announced. Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State, State Sen. David Adelman (Caroline Adelman's husband), and Bill Waldrop, former chair of the Cobb County Democratic Committee. We also featured Gil Moor, co-owner of the new Air America affiliate in Atlanta, Air Atlanta (1690 AM).Bellman is continuing his activism after the election. He converted the web site into www.eastcobbdems.com, which is running right now. He ran for and was elected 2nd Vice Chairman of the Cobb Democratic Committee and also was elected to a seat on the Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee, from Cobb. 10/05/05