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Chivukula for Congress: A Team Campaign

Over the past few months, I had the honor of working with Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s Congressional campaign in the capacity of call time manager.

Assemblyman Chivukula is a serious legislator committed to his constituents. As an electrical engineer and a progressive, he offers a much-needed perspective that would have served NJ-12 well in Congress. Unfortunately, while the election did not end in our favor on June 2, I am proud of the work we accomplished for Chivukula for Congress. With only three months available to us, we exceeded fundraising expectations and raised more than $350,000 in contributions.

As a call time manager I was responsible for keeping financial quotas, entering data into a campaign management software, and preparing call sheets for the candidate. Call time is a necessary cog in the machine that is a political campaign. And while it may be one of the most important, it is generally not something the public gets to see. For both candidate and call time manager the days are long, the hours pass slowly, and the rewards aren’t immediate. It is a physical and mental slog to the finish.

But in my opinion, it is exactly this kind of thankless task that brings out an individual’s true character. While still busy in his capacity of Deputy Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, Assemblyman Chivukula put his full effort into keeping call time goals on track for the entirety of the campaign.

We not only exceeded fundraising expectations, we also exceeded expectations overall. Projected at receiving around 11% of the vote in an early poll, Assemblyman Chivukula finished close behind Senator Linda Greenstein with 22%. This speaks to the hard work of our campaign team, including campaign manager Henry de Koninck, field director Ben Winsor, my fellow call time manager Sivamala Ramesh, and communications director Matt Krayton. Learning from these seasoned campaign members was an invaluable experience to me and I am grateful to have had them as mentors.

Shortly after the campaign ended, Assemblyman Chivukula was one of 16 elected candidates appointed to serve on the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. He continues to excel as a representative of the 17th Legislative District and a respected member of the New Jersey Assembly.

What I took away from this campaign was not only career experience. It was also the understanding that a team only functions as well as the performance of all its parts, large or small. Chivukula for Congress was a team success, and I am glad to have been a part of it.

Julia Unigovski • June 2014

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