I spent yesterday evening in front of Robert Frost Middle School in Fairfax shaking hands of incoming parents. Tonight I will be at Rocky Run Middle in Chantilly.
It’s September which means that it’s “back to school” time for kids and parents. For politicians, it means standing outside local schools trying to find a friendly face.
A lot of people will tell you that this type of interaction is useless. A lot of people would be wrong.
On an average BTS night, I can greet over 200 parents, each of whom receives a hand shake and a “Chap Petersen: The People’s Senator” pencil. Most rush on by, but a significant number will stop to talk.
Years later, I will run into voters who tell me: “I met you at my child’s school.” They may not remember the school or the year, but they remember that you took the time to be there. (FWIW, parents are most likely to attend elementary and middle school BTS events, so those are my top targets).
I’ve been doing the BTS circuit for almost 15 years A few years ago, the calculus changed when my own children started attending FCPS schools. I now have three different schools to cover as a parent. Never fear: I stand out front shaking hands, then walk inside for the presentations. If somebody doesn’t want me to be there, they get a double dose.