Sun City resident Betty Schleder has always been an advocate for strong conservative values. To prove it, she has been gathering respected and well-liked neighbors, The Sun City Grandmas, since 2011 to help her spread the word about qualified candidates for office.
“It all started with Dr. Charles Schwertner,” Schleder says. “He asked me for advice on getting the word out in Sun City about his run for State Rep.” Schleder got busy and scheduled a Meet & Greet for all 52 neighborhoods in a two-month period. Soon after, Dr. Marsha Farney called to see if Schleder would do the same for her Board of Education race, and the rest is history.
The Grandmas provide a service by doing a lot of homework; researching candidates, and providing recommendations to friends and neighbors about qualifications, experience, and platforms. In previous elections, they stuffed and carried 6200 voter cards—in heat, rain and snow. This year, keeping safety in mind, they are mailing cards to every home in Sun City, but are also planning 50 “backyard” meet-n-greets to give voters an opportunity to meet up to three candidates in person, and ask tough questions.
Not surprisingly, the personal touch has had a tremendous impact. It is statistically significant for any candidate to win the Sun City precincts if he or she is to win county wide. “We are very proud of people like Judge Rick Kennon, who won by .08 percent countywide in 2014, but carried Sun City by a nearly 20 percent average. Our insights served us well—he was our county’s highest rated judge four years in a row.”
In 2020, the Grandmas believe their vetting process will be even more important, since voters can no longer vote for a straight ticket. “So few people really study local candidates,” Schleder says. “Our 2020 card will have recommendations for every race, from President to Georgetown Mayor and School Board, which I hope will be a strong reminder to everyone to vote all the way to the bottom of the ballot—including the propositions—when they arrive at the polls.”
Schleder is delighted to welcome new Grandmas to each campaign season. “We embrace people from all parties and interests in Sun City. It helps us reach out and engage the diverse interests and opinions we have here. And be on the lookout for more progress in our group as the median age grows younger and more social media-savvy. We will take on any challenges and challengers like we always have.”
Contact Betty at TheSurvivor@suddenlink.net for a voter card, or meet-n-greet scheduling.