This week we ran a Facebook ad targeted to reach voters all across the district. One of those ads featured a photo of my family: Bill and me, with our three kids in front.
We woke up the next morning to comments like this:
I know I am going too get stomped on an yelled at but why has she hot the children dressed like they r on Little House on the Parie
Now, I am prepared to take on a lot of nasty comments from social media trolls -- it comes with the territory when you run for office. But my kids are just beginning to navigate the world of social media. They were going to see this comment and feel hurt and embarrassed. And no mom wants that.
I wanted to respond in a variety of different ways (some of them with some very colorful language). But in the end, here was my reply:
There are families going bankrupt from outrageous medical bills, people worried about losing their jobs, kids going to school in overcrowded classrooms, and politicians who don't bother to show up and fight for what our community needs. Forgive me if it's hard to take your criticism about my children's sense of style seriously.
When I decided to run for office, we talked together as a family about how some people might choose to be mean, or rude, or hateful. And how the internet made it easy to say stupid things. You have given us a great example to mull over at our family dinner tomorrow.
Why am I sharing this?
First, I want to give you a little taste of why good people don't run for office (besides the long days and the endless fundraising and the knocking on doors in 95 degree heat). It's because as soon as you step out into the public arena, people feel like they can criticize not just you, but your family.
Second, I want you to know that I am committed to keeping my eye on the ball. As a Delegate, I won't be drawn into personal spats, mud-slinging or name-calling. Yes, I will call out bad behavior, but I will stay relentlessly focused on policy. There is too much work to do, and we can not afford to be sidetracked.
My kids write a thank-you note for every donation we receive. As they gear up for a note-writing party tomorrow morning (complete with pancakes, so sorry if your envelope is sticky!), I would love if they saw your name on our list of supporters for the week. Will you send a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100?
These are the moments when I can really feel the community support behind this campaign, and behind my family.
Thank you for fighting alongside us,
PS -- When I talked to the kids about the nasty comment above, I had to explain what "Little House on the Prairie" was. They were highly offended once they understood, but also asked if we could watch a few episodes. Now they are calling me "Ma" and giggling uproariously.