Hanging with a Congressmen and Building Out the Downtown Madison Base

Mike Basch
4 min readSep 6, 2016


Rep Tim Ryan (Ohio) swings by for a visit
Rep Tim Ryan and hanging with the O’Dana volunteer squad!

Another week has already gone by on the road to a November Victory. This week kicked off hanging out with Ohio congressman Tim Ryan. He popped into one of our offices to hang out while we phone banked with a massive and really inspiring group of volunteers. He’s a great guy and a strong speaker. I also received my official training at by the Wisconsin state team, which is staffed by a highly experienced and impressionably passionate group. . I am pleased to tell you that I now know enough about organizing to be potentially dangerous…can you say MB2032? Regardless of where or how I’m spending my time, I’m consistently impressed by the caliber and heart-felt enthusiasm of my peers. People have migrated from both coasts and everywhere in between, each with a unique and compelling story about what brought them here. I am having the time of my life.

This is what the largest Hillel in the US looks like (it even has a rooftop basketball court!)

Step two for feeling at home in Madison was unlocking the Jewish scene. I met with the leadership of Chabad and Hillel and took a trip to the Business school. I’ve also been in touch with the local Jewish Federation to get them involved as well. I’m excited to get these groups even more involved in what I’m calling “Operation Democratic Madison Takeover,” in full effect.

Classes at the University officially resume the Tuesday after Labor Day, and the city’s vibrancy is increasing each day as more students return to campus. We took full advantage of the increased foot-traffic generated by Freshmen move in day, and the annual Taste of Madison food festival to register new voters and recruit even more volunteers. . I loved seeing the excited faces of first time voters as they registered. The office has been audio filled with tropical tunes (courtesy of DJ IK — thank you DJ IK) while we work. Everyday the office grows more full with fellows, volunteers, and other organizers who are joining our team. You can really feel the momentum we are building!

All-star volunteer squad canvassing at The Taste of Madison! (daytime canvassing=good for the tan)

So…What is Madison all about? I’ve covered a decent amount of ground so far, and I like it a lot. There’s a great food scene (Can we say Cheese Kurds? — not all of it is the healthiest, but delicious none the less). I also checked out a 26-person co-op! It bore resemblance to Greek life housing, but with a more markedly liberal vibe and filled with tenants of all ages, races, and passions. LOVED IT. The aforementioned Taste of Madison also brought in groups of visitors from all over Wisconsin and even some neighboring, not as blue states — a whole different cup of tea!

In general, I spend most of my time in and around the capitol, a distinguished building set in the middle of a manicured square, that transforms into a vibrant farmers market on weekends. Madison also boasts beautiful lakes and plenty of greenery interwoven throughout the city sprawl, making Madison a truly gorgeous town.

I have had a great response from people wanting to come out and spend some time here. I’ll have folks here every weekend from September 16th onward with over 35 different people signed up! A few people are even coming for 2–4 weeks at a time! YES! Love it! November 5–9 are the most crucial final days for Get Out The Vote!; so if you can make it out and want to do some amazing work on behalf of your country, I would LOVE to have you here for the final push. I still have room to host 1 to 2 more people most (but not all) weekends, so hit me up!

Get out here, get involved. Let’s do this together.

Lake pics lake never seem to get old

P.S. Special thanks to Jordan Gill and Siena Delisser for helping to write/edit!