Campaign work rewarding, student says

Sean Kennedy

Sean Kennedy

Political aspirations have run high this year, as candidates campaigned in hotly contested races around South Dakota.

Kelly Bosma, a political science major from Aberdeen, has put her life into this year’s campaign, working for the South Dakota Democratic Party.

“I am currently working with some of the best people … in the country,” Bosma said.

A staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, Bosma spent the summer of 2001 working in Washington D.C. for Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Bosma once desired to become South Dakota’s governor herself, before unsuccessfully campaigning last spring for SA vice-president and working on this year’s election campaign. She said she realized that having a plan was not as important as having something to do.

“The plan is not necessarily as important as getting out there and enjoying it. I don’t need to have a plan. I’ve had a plan all my life,” Bosma said.

Bosma started her role in the campaign last summer, when she was offered a job working for the Johnson campaign. After training at Georgetown, Bosma found out that the position she had been hired for was not available and quickly rolled into a different job with the Democratic Party, working to get all the party candidates elected.

Bosma was hired as a field organizer for the Democratic Party’s efforts in Hamlin County, with her office located in Estelline.

Part of Bosma’s job as a field organizer was to make phone calls to voters and make candidate’s stances on the issues known as well as going door to door to meet with voters.

“Its more important to get the issues out. I feel strongly that people should know where candidates stand,” Bosma said.

Bosma met with mixed reaction when making phone calls and heading to people’s homes. Some people would talk to her for hours while others would call her nasty names and hang up the phone, or slam the door in her face or pretend they were not home.

Despite all of this, she retains an optimistic attitude.

“It’s a good thing we are getting out there, getting the issues out there,” she said.”I love every aspect of my job. There are not that many people who can say that.”

Another part of her job was to oversee all of the volunteers who were also working for the party.

“Sometimes they kept me sane or they drove me crazy,” she said.

Bosma said she had met all of the candidates, knew where they stood on all of the issues, knew who was running for what and who they were running against.

Once her job started, she found out that it was going to be five months long, instead of three, thus interfering with her fall course schedule.

“It was going to be very hard for me, with Senate, political science club. I was going to, in some sense, have to give those up completely,” Bosma said.

Bosma reworked her course schedule for the fall semester and ended up taking 12 internship credits instead of the course load she had planned.

She is still a member of the Students’ Association Senate, despite an unsuccessful attempt to impeach her.

“They didn’t understand why I was out doing an internship and not attending meetings,” Bosma said. “They were not at that level with me.”

Now that the election is over, Bosma intends to come back strong.

“Senate is very important to me. It’s something I took a lot of pride in,” she said.

After changing the courses she had planned for the fall semester, Bosma now has to take an additional semester to make up for her lost time. She plans to graduate in the summer of 2003.

With the added stress of still being a full-time student, Bosma suddenly found herself working 20 hour days in Estelline and commuting back and forth to Brookings.

Two weeks into her job in Hamlin county, Bosma said she did not think she was doing her job properly. One of the volunteers she was working with came up and gave her a hug.

“That person believed in me,” Bosma said. “I knew that I was in the right spot.”

Conceding last week that the race would be a close one, Bosma remained optimistic that her candidates will win the election.

“If I am out there at 6:55 (p.m.) pulling people to the polls, I will do it,” she said.