Mary Alice Theroux joined us on “Larry Bodine Live” to talk about her current project, how she got started in campaigning for Democrats, and her advice to people who are thinking about campaigning. Mary Alice is a stalwart Democratic committee person in Precinct 31 near Flowing Wells Park on Tucson’s west side. She was sending 300 handwritten letters to voters when something new popped up in a neighbor’s yard: a trump flag.
“He put it up to piss me off,” she says. Then the neighbor in her retirement community started disparaging her for being a Democrat. “I didn’t think much about it. This is America and it’s a democracy, and people have a right to do that.”
But it made a lot of her neighbors mad. “They asked me what they could do to help,” she says. “I said, ‘why don’t you just donate stamps.’” So, neighbors donated a total of 600 stamps for postcards and letters. The flag even promoted two neighbors to volunteer to elect Democrats. Mary finds that the letters including a brochure are the most effective voter outreach tactic. She credits them with increasing the Democratic voter turnout in her precinct from 52% in 2014 to 71% in 2018.
Mary Alice was inspired to get active in Democratic politics when the Republican Congress voted from 2011 to 2017 to end Obamacare. “It really irritated me,” she says. Her husband had open-heart surgery at age 33. Because of this and other pre-existing conditions, she had to pay $1,000 a month for private health insurance. “I have had years and years, and years of experience with pre-existing conditions,” she says. When the Republicans tried to eliminate Obamacare, “it made me mad. I started hounding McCain with emails. We should have the same right to buy health insurance at the same rate as everybody else even though we have a pre-existing condition,” she says.
When Sen. John McCain’s cancer flared up, “he got his earful” from other patients at the Mayo Clinic. “That’s when I believe he made the turn and did the thumbs down on the floor,” putting a halt to Republican efforts to cancel Obamacare.
When trump was elected, she upped her efforts and became a Democratic precinct committee person. But she was reluctant to canvass door-to-door. “I said to myself, Mary Alice you’ve never been afraid of anything. Get your butt out there and do it!”
Her advice to people who are considering campaigning for Democrats is: “Don’t be afraid. There’s always something that you can do. Don’t be intimidated by maybe a Republican neighbor, or others that you think might not like you because you’re out there campaigning for Democrats. I plow through and I think the best way to change what’s happening in this country is to change who’s in charge.”