On Saturday I had the opportunity not many political operatives have: I was able to celebrate a huge, historic victory with my Mom, Cathy Steinhauser, as she won a seat on the Flatonia City Council.
I have worked with many candidates and causes through the years, but I have never seen a more hardworking, determined candidate for office. Mom is a natural politician, but in a good way. She loves talking with people and hearing their ideas about how to improve the city of Flatonia.
When she first told me she was running for one of the three available seats on the council, I was a bit surprised, since she hadn’t been talking about this before then. My first thought was about how we didn’t have time to lay the groundwork that I would want to lay before a city council race. I always tell candidates that they should start building their networks, raising money, working on issues and learning the process long before they decide to run. But Mom had had enough and one day just decided to throw her hat in the ring, so I was just proud of her and happy to help!
She ran an excellent campaign for about six weeks, and focused on talking with voters in person, either at their house or on the streets of Flatonia. She also spent countless hours on the phone and on email, persuading folks to give her a chance to serve the city. Her hard work paid off with an historic election victory where we set a record for early voting totals, shattering the previous record by 250%. She received 260 total votes out of 371 cast, which means she got 70% of the votes!
On Election Day we worked hard to get our supporters to the polls, and Mom worked harder than anyone else -- candidate or volunteer. She was exhausted by that evening, but confident that she had done everything she could to ensure a victory and a mandate from the voters.
We gathered at the Red Vault Bistro across the street from Flatonia City Hall at 7:00pm when the polls officially closed. There was excitement and curiosity in the air about the final vote tallies.
By 7:30 pm or so the results had been posted. One of our allies walked across the street and grabbed a copy of the results and took them back to the Bistro. She told us which candidates had won, and the room erupted in cheers, clapping and crying. It was a big win for the candidates, the volunteers and the voters of Flatonia who had voted for the future of the city.
One special moment, which I captured on video, was when my Dad read the final vote totals and the crowd cheered them. I shot a quick video of my Mom, tired and emotional, shedding tears of relief and joy. She had put so much into this race and now she knew that she had the chance she wanted to serve with honesty, integrity and good judgment.
Hugs and handshakes filled the remainder of the time there, and folks enjoyed a beer or a glass of wine as we celebrated a great evening together. My Mom and I were the last two at the Bistro and just relaxed with the owners and talked about life, business, politics, families and health. It was a great way to end a great day, and a very well-run campaign. I could not have been more proud of my Mom, and will never forget that moment of victory for her. She will be the kind of public servant that everyone claims to be, but she will actually do the right thing for the right reasons.
Now that the campaign is over, we have two weeks until her swearing in, and the real work of governing begins. I am honored to know her, to be her son and to have played a small part in her election that day. Hopefully she will be able to make as big an impact for the city of Flatonia that I know she wants to make. Either way, there is no doubt that this good, strong woman is on a mission to improve the lives of the people in her community.