Recruiting a team, neighborhood by neighborhood

Posted 5/18/22


Joy Fox was knocking on doors Saturday in her campaign to win the Second Congressional District seat. She wasn’t asking for money, something her campaign could use.  …

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Recruiting a team, neighborhood by neighborhood



Joy Fox was knocking on doors Saturday in her campaign to win the Second Congressional District seat. She wasn’t asking for money, something her campaign could use.  Rather, she was reminding those she met of the Democratic primary September 13 and inviting them to join her campaign.

She had two converts with her, Katie and Ryan Hall who live in the Norwood section of Warwick. Katie met Fox at the Providence St. Patrick’s Day parade and rapidly, as often happens in Rhode Island, established they had mutual friends and share interests. 

“She’s great. I appreciate that she’s from here (Rhode Island),” Katie said explaining she’s a Cumberland native. Fox grew up in Cranston and now lives in the Gaspee Plateau section of Warwick. She is no stranger to Ocean State politics and government although this is her first bid for public office. Fox was a reporter than editor of the Cranston Herald before working as the communications director for Congressman James Langevin to be followed in a similar position for then state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and then Governor Raimondo.  She is now the co-owner of Clarendon Group, a communications firm. 

Katie had done her homework, designing a neighborhood loop that would hit those houses where people had voted in the last Democratic primary. Using an app on her phone she provided Fox with the name of the voter if he or she might come to the door. 

Systems, however, don’t always work as planned. For starters it was a beautiful day and people weren’t home or, if they were out in their yards. And people in their yards weren’t all voters, but naturally curious by a group of four people – Fox, the Halls and guy carrying a notebook and camera – walking through the neighborhood. 

Dan Kugler was one of them. He wasted no time in spouting off about inflation concluding that the issue isn’t a lack of “stuff” but the supply chain that is fueling higher prices. He attributed soaring gas prices to  the war in Ukraine and complained about the unrealistic cost of housing. 

“The housing bubble is going to burst,” he said with conviction.

Fox steered clear of engaging in a point by point of where she stood on the issues raised by Kugler. She shifted gears.

“Are you a Democrat?” 

Kugler said he usually votes Democrat, but doesn’t always vote the party line, adding “there are good and people in both parties.”

He said he votes for “what’s going to benefit the state as a whole.” Fox agreed, adding that from her work she knows the state. Further on she was asked what is core to the state and how she would address it.

“Economy, economy, economy…all roads lead back to it,” she said. Fox covered a gambit of topics from the need to support unpaid care givers, giving a personal account of her mother caring for her father who is suffering with Alzheimer’s to educating people so as to attract companies to come to Rhode Island. She put continuing the work Langevin has done in cybersecurity high on her list. Fox didn’t preach nor did she mention how many potential candidates are in the race for the Democratic nomination at this time – seven. Rather, she looked to make bonds, finding commonalities in what people like about the state and as it turned out mutual acquaintances. In those instances, she urged them to consider joining her ranks.

“The best part of running for office is meeting all the people,” she said crossing the street to meet a young woman who was looking on as a man worked under the dash of a car. Fox introduced herself. Sensing the unease of the situation, Fox handed the woman a sheet of paper with a reprint of largely complementary April 29 Rhode Map column written by Dan McGowan of the Boston Globe. As the woman extended her hand to take it, the reporter’s camera snapped. 

“She doesn’t want her picture taken,” Fox said. The woman smiled in appreciation. Fox turned to leave for the next house on Katie’s list, but not without a parting word: “We need some Joy in Congress.”  


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