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  talking with CATHY HACKETT  

Despite our hard work and pure hearts Cathy did not win district one's seat on Sacramento's city council.

On the Sunday before the election Cathy and I walked together.After receiving a call she said, 'They are ordering pizza, we'll have pizza when we finish'. One block led to another and by the time we got back to the office, not even the odor of pizza remained.


Many of us had gone to bed on election eve confident we had overcome our opponent's two to one fund raising advantage and political endorsements.

Over a period of weeks I had observed a political campaign develop into an enthusiastic crusade for labor. Cathy was not only a labor candidate but a candidate from labor and it made a difference. Her staff and countless volunteers understood she was one of us, and truely represented labor and the interests of working families.


A candidate from labor was something new in Sacramento's political arena. A friend recently counseled, 'You couldn't expect to win first time out, it took a decade for labor to be successful in San Jose.'

4-10-01 Cathy awaiting the absentee ballot results.

But we had expected to win.

After the dust had settled I emailed Cathy and suggested a conversation. She agreed and we met on April 25th, 5th floor CSEA building, on the patio where we discussed the campaign during her lunch. Comments from other campaign participants were also solicited.


I usually restrict my participation to fotos, and on occasion writing. Smoke and mirrors Jim has called it, but this time I had volunteered to adopt a precinct. Soon Ellen and I were knocking on doors.

It was that kind of a campaign, a first step to changing the world and we had wanted to be a part of it.

Cathy is CH, and I am DW.
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Early in the campaign I led a cheer. Left to right, front to back, Local 1000 except as noted. Modesto Rios, Ed Perez, Dan Carranza, Chris Bender(CSEA), Larry Perkins.



DW: We just participated in a whirlwind election campaign in which you were a candidate for a seat on the city council. What was it like to be center stage?


CH: At first it was really difficult as I was not used to being the center of attention. I was more accustomed to being behind the scenes, urging other people forward, motivating them to do things for a larger purpose, a contract, or working to protect someone's rights.

Most candidates do not come to the campaign with that kind of experience. Typically, in education systems, and in most working environments, it is a dog-eat-dog atmosphere in which leaders are very competitive individuals.We have been conditioned to expect leaders to be outgoing, aggressive, and dominant.

We had a lot to learn about campaigning. Bill Camp (executive secretary, central labor council) instructing Jim Hard, Willi Cruz, Fran Pass, and Cathy. All SEIU local 1000).

I don't believe in that, I believe a leader has a base of support and that is what makes them a leader. Having worthy goals, an ability to carry through, an ability to get people to help do the work and remaining focused over time is what wins people's support. However, as a candidate you are talking to the media and everyone expects you to be this other person, so you have to adapt to that.

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