This is the follow up to episode 44 with Becky Daggett. I recommend listening to episode 44 first.
In this episode… Did Becky win her election? What happened to her campaign during the pandemic? Is she still crazy about kittens and puppies? All of this and more in this first episode of the Do Good, Be Good podcast for 2021. This episode is safe to listen to with kids around and will hopefully have you laughing as well as inspired to be courageous for what matters most to you.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Becky Dagget’s Campaign Page
- Flagstaff, Arizona
- High Country Humane Animal Shelter
- Theatrikos Theatre Company
- Do Good, Be Good’s Facebook Page
- Do Good, Be Good Merch
- Want to start your own podcast or blog? Check out Fizzle
Full Transcript Below:
0:00:00.9 Becky Daggett: “Oh my gosh. You’re out in your yard. I wasn’t expecting you to be out in the yard. I was just going to leave this on your door knob. Here, let me set it here and I’ll back away, and you can grab my campaign brochure.”
0:00:20.5 Speaker 2: This is Do Good, Be Good, the show about helpful people and the challenges they face in trying to do good. Your host is Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom, a career do-gooder, who also loves craft beer and a good hard tackle in rugby. Sharon speaks to everyday people about why they do good and what it means to be good.
0:00:41.5 Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom: Hello, I’m your host, Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom, and the voice you heard at the top is our guest for today, Becky Daggett. I last spoke to Becky in early March 2020 before the pandemic. And at that time, she was running for political office for the first time. She had begun her campaign for City Council, for the town that we both live in, Flagstaff, Arizona. And we covered all that in the first episode. So if you haven’t listened to our first conversation yet, I would highly recommend doing that first. Just look for the last episode in your feed. Done that? All right, okay, I’m gonna assume that moving forward, everyone listening is on the same page with Becky’s backstory and how we know each other, so I’m not gonna introduce her. This episode picks up where we left off. We talked in late 2020, just at the end of the year, through Zoom. So without further ado, let’s jump into my conversation with Becky Daggett.
0:01:42.1 BD: So it was post-arm break, pre-covid.
0:01:48.9 ST: Yeah, moving past what turned out to be a minor hiccup, [laughter] into a full-blown worldwide crisis that also made it difficult for you to complete your election bid.
0:02:00.8 BD: Yeah, it kind of felt like the Walking Dead, in that I’m home with this arm and I can’t go anywhere, and it hurts all the time, and when I was finally able to exit, then we get into a pandemic, and it’s like Rick walking out of the hospital in the very beginning. And I don’t know if you watch Walking Dead, but…
0:02:24.8 Speaker 2: Maybe a listener does, though. [laughter] I feel like there’s a lot of people who are in some version of that or the other. It was like, Oh, I have a cousin who said that after years of social isolation and realizing that they had spent too much time being worried about social anxiety and not putting themselves out there, this was the year, 2020 was gonna be the year where they went out and started dating again and joined multiple social groups and just really put themselves out there.
0:03:00.0 BD: Oh man.
0:03:01.9 ST: But then I think they were proud by April to know that all those years of social isolation training were gonna come into handy at this moment.
0:03:09.6 BD: Yeah, in the beginning, I thought, “I was made for this.” You get exhausted from so much interaction and just having so many meetings, and I’d feel bad when I’d have to turn down an invitation. So the first couple of months were nothing, but now I’m like, “You know what, I’m going to make room for every social interaction, from here on out.”
0:03:38.3 ST: I’ve tried to hold back from thinking about, “What am I gonna do when I can do what I want to do again?” because I feel like that’s mostly a masochistic exercise to think about that. But the few things that have topped the list are definitely hosting dinner parties, dancing, obviously being in theater productions again.
0:04:04.5 BD: Oh, yes.
0:04:08.8 ST: Yeah, I think those are kind of the top of the list. Other than the obvious of seeing family.
0:04:15.3 BD: Yeah, I miss meeting someone for coffee or someone for a beer, the theater. Definitely that’s the number one thing that I miss, is just… There’s just always something going on and you can always get involved doing something. And I think I didn’t realize how much my social life revolved around the theater and how my favorite people on the planet, a lot of them volunteer at the theater. So I’ve definitely realized that as well.
0:04:53.7 ST: Yeah, I used to especially like to do the Christmas show because I felt like for me, things slowed down in the winter, and not having kids, I wasn’t crazy with getting stuff for the holidays and all of that, and so it was my social outlet when things would get dark and cold and I didn’t have as much going on.
0:05:12.3 BD: And you might as well be in a dark and cold building too. [laughter]
0:05:17.6 ST: Yeah, and pretend to have children by having a role where I had someone who was assigned to me. And then making sure that when we were in the green room, they knew that I wasn’t actually their mother, and that they needed to go find their real mother.
0:05:33.7 BD: You’re just there to make sure they don’t get injured or injure someone else.
0:05:38.3 ST: Not even that. I’m just there to look pretty on stage with them. Look vaguely related.
0:05:46.2 BD: It’s been nice to be home because I can spend more time with foster animals that need to learn some manners so that they can be adopted into good homes.
0:05:57.5 ST: How often are you taking in these foster animals, and how many have you been fostering through this pandemic?
0:06:04.5 BD: I’ve probably had three litters of kittens, and then puppy siblings, and then this puppy that I have right now. And the last group of kittens that I adopted, they came to the shelter really sick, and so I wanted to take a break after that because they were so sick that, I don’t know if this will disgust your listeners, but like my spare bathroom, I’d come in and it would look like CSI in there. So there was a lot of cleaning up to do. But we got them all healthy and I adopted one and the rest went up for adoption. Well, you’ll see this now that you’re on the foster list for them. Every single day, someone will bring in 12 puppies and eight puppies, and they’re just their overrun. And these young animals really need to be in a home and not in a kennel, they need to be socialized, so that they can find good homes. But man, I hope that someday we will be ahead of the spay and neuter problem.
0:07:26.8 ST: I feel like there was a lot of news about how early in the pandemic shelters were able to shelter out all of the animals because people were home and decided to take in either fosters or adopt. And I feel like that’s one of those things that maybe there’s been waves, and we’re probably at the point where a lot of whoever was in that first wave of taking animals has taken them and is raising them. And so now, I thought I’m late to the party, but maybe that’s a good thing, because now there’s probably still a growing need and maybe not as many available placements.
0:08:07.9 BD: Yeah, it’s never ending with kittens and puppies.
0:08:13.6 ST: I asked Becky what kind of challenges she faced campaigning during a pandemic.
0:08:18.1 BD: When I was doing literature, taking my literature out in neighborhoods, if I would bump into someone, I’m handing them my piece of literature from as far away as I can while I’m turning my face away. So that’s an odd way to connect with voters as well.
0:08:38.6 ST: Yeah, that makes me think of two things. One is, I feel like there’s been this re-establishment and negotiation of social norms. Obviously, it’s not okay to go up to someone and hug them anymore, but even the basic things. I feel like a campaign forces you to kind of push the boundaries of what is comfortable with talking to strangers and going up to people’s houses and kind of intruding in people’s lives to let them know that you’re running for office. So I feel like that’s already something that probably wavers on that edge of feeling like you’re kinda going against a social norm there, just to let people know who you are and why they should care, and then I wonder this other layer that gets built on top of that of now there’s a global pandemic and people are like…
0:09:30.6 BD: “Oh my gosh, you’re out in your yard. I wasn’t expecting you to be out in the yard. I was just going to leave this on your door knob. Here, let me set it here and I’ll back away, and you can grab my campaign brochure.”
0:09:44.8 ST: Were there any particular interactions with voters that surprised you?
0:09:50.2 BD: You know, I did a lot of neighborhood walking, and there was one woman who lived at the end of a dead end street in an older neighborhood in Flagstaff. And she was outside and I handed it to her and said, “That’s me, I’m running for city council.” I said, “Do you think you’ll vote for me?” And she said, “No one has ever stopped at my house before,” which is shocking. And she said, “And yes, I think I will.” I should go to all the dead ends and hand out my materials to people.
0:10:30.0 ST: As someone who used to live at the end of a long driveway and experienced the equivalent of that on Halloween when it was like, “Who’s gonna actually make the trek down the driveway?” We always had to be unique and offer something different than the other houses.
0:10:49.2 BD: “We promise it’s worth the effort.”
0:10:53.5 ST: Yeah, my mom started offering soda instead of candy, and so we became like a destination. It was like, okay, when you’re thirsty in your rounds, you can go down the driveway and get something to drink.
0:11:07.1 BD: That’s great.
0:11:14.8 ST: Pausing for a moment to remind you that a transcript of today’s episode is available in the show notes at dogoodbegoodshow.com, as well as links to anything that Becky or I mention. If you’re interested in podcasting, blogging or starting an online business, check out Fizzle. That’s where I learned the technical skills necessary to bring you this story. You can find a referral link in the show notes. With that link, you’ll get a month of courses, coaching and community for just $1. If you use that link, you’ll also be supporting this show. Now, back to my conversation with Becky, as we go back to talking about her campaign for city council.
0:11:54.3 BD: I’m not sure that every election cycle was like this one, in terms of the tenor of the conversation and just how angry people are. I got some of it. Just people are upset about things that would go on in Flagstaff, especially student housing, and they’re wanting to know where you stand on issues, and they’re just really angry. And I recognize they’re not angry at me, they’re angry at the situation. But the landscape as a whole, watching it play out on social media, I did have a couple of times where I thought, “Do I wanna be in politics in this time?” I value civil discourse so much, and I have no problem with disagreement at all, but just that nastiness. And if you see people going after one candidate, you’re thinking, “Someday that’s going to be me, because I’m going to do something that angers people, and they’re going to be after me and yuck.” So I’m hoping that we can get back to more civil debate. We’ll see, but I think social media, for all the positive things that it has done, one thing that has not been a positive, and I’m the 10th million person to say this, is just you can say all kinds of stuff from behind your keyboard that you would never say to a person face-to-face. And that’s unfortunate.
0:13:44.3 ST: Indeed. Absolutely. Were you anxious going into the final straights of the election? Were you just ready for it to be over? Were you like, “This is in a bag, no big deal”? I mean, how was it just that last week going up to Election Day?
0:14:02.7 BD: I was really anxious, and at no time thought I had it in the bag, and if anyone would say that to me, I would get even more anxious. And I was anxious, I realized, ’cause I was very anxious. So I sat with it a little bit to figure out, “Where is it all coming from?” And part of it was personal and part of it was like, you know, when you take a new job and you’re excited, but you’re also like, “Ugh, should I have… Oh, I don’t know, did I make the right decision?” So there was just apprehension. And then the national political landscape, I was very anxious about that as well. So I was pretty much a stress ball the week before the election.
0:14:54.9 ST: Did you do anything to try to help stay sane that week?
0:15:01.7 BD: Step away from social media and take my dog for walks. And I would unplug from social media throughout the campaign, when I just saw nasty stuff playing out, because like I said, you see it happening to someone else and you know it’s just a matter of time. I would feel my anxiety rising up and I would just have to step away and remember that’s one tiny part of life, and there’s so much more going on and let’s go reconnect with everything else that’s going on, but distantly and with a mask.
0:15:42.0 ST: So when did you know your results and when did things change from just a ball of anxiety to something else?
0:15:48.3 BD: That night, I rented a propane heater and moved my car out of the carport and set up the heater on my carport and got out my laptop and invited just a couple of friends to come sit in camp chairs, and we watched the results come in. And because it was so decisive for my race, as soon as I spoke to the Daily Sun and Calf Radio, then I started having wine, and for the rest of the night just kind of enjoyed what was playing out and enjoyed some wine and with some friends. And it’s like, “Wow, how long has it been since I’ve sat around and had wine with friends?” It’s been a long time.
0:16:33.5 ST: I’m glad you got to do that, that’s good. And I’m glad yours was decisive and you weren’t sticking, you know, spending all week wondering what the result was gonna be.
0:16:43.4 BD: Yeah, I packed up a couple of days later and headed south with my ice chest and my sleeping bag and my dog, to just unplug and see some beauty and get out of my head.
0:17:05.3 ST: Is there anything about your expectations of what it means to have gotten yourself into this, that has changed, given the fact that we’re now in a global pandemic, and when you decide to run for office we weren’t in a global pandemic?
0:17:24.8 BD: No, I don’t think so. I recognize that there are going to be challenges caused by revenues, we rely a lot on tourism in Flagstaff, so having revenues down. And then just the general anxiety of people living here who… There are so many people living here. I think what’s the… It’s like 49% of people living in Flagstaff before the pandemic were… What do they call it? Housing burdened, where you’re spending more than 30% of your income on whatever housing you’re in. So that’s going to be heightened even more. And the eviction moratorium ends December 31st. So I think our problems just became exacerbated by the pandemic, and then there’s just still this sense of anxiety that I think we’re all feeling because we don’t know what’s coming.
0:18:42.0 ST: Thank you for listening to Do Good, Be Good. For show notes on all of our episodes, visit dogoodbegoodshow.com. If you want more behind the scenes stories and insights, check out the show page on Facebook at facebook.com/dogoodbegoodshow. Thank you to Becky Daggett for sharing her story, and congratulations on your new role as Vice Mayor of Flagstaff. To subscribe to the podcast for free, so that you get each episode as soon it is released, search “Do Good, Be Good” in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Music, or your podcast app of choice. This podcast was produced, recorded and edited by me. Music in this episode is Bathed in Fine Dust by Andy G. Cohen, released under Creative Commons Attribution International License and discovered in the Free Music Archive. Until next week, this is Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom signing off.