Voting counts, but volunteering to help political candidates also helps.
That was the message of state Rep. Sue Burmeister at a meeting of the Greater Columbia County Republican Women on Thursday at Golden Corral restaurant.
"The most important thing we can do in politics is vote," Burmeister told about 30 women of the 59-member group. "But there are other ways to be politically involved besides voting."
Currently serving her second term in the state House as the District 96 representative, Burmeister is running unopposed in this year's election.
When she starts her third term next year, she will represent District 119, which includes three Columbia County precincts, because of reapportionment.
Serving her constituents consumes much of her time, Burmeister said. Having volunteers share the workload, especially during campaigns, helps immensely, she said.
Examples of activities volunteers can help accomplish include sending out post cards and letters, stuffing envelopes, blanketing neighborhoods with door-to-door visits, putting up signs, holding signs at polls on election day, researching opponents and reception work.
She also encouraged volunteers not to abandon the candidate once they are in office when the next election rolls around.
Burmeister received overwhelming volunteer support in her bid to unseat then-incumbent state Rep. Robin Williams in 2000. But when it was time for her to seek re-election, many of her volunteers jumped ship to work on state Sen. Randy Hall's campaign against Charles Walker.
"I understand wanting to help out the new guy in the hot race, but I lost more than half of my volunteers," she said. "Everyone wants to be a part of the campaign where you're going to knock off this evil person."
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