Meet a FLIPster: Lisa Reiter

She hasn’t always been politically active – after living in the D.C. area for four years, she grew tired of all of the political conversations. But Lisa finds that when the conversations are about true activation – and action – instead of gossip and frustration around our state of affairs, she’s all in.

Read this Q&A with Lisa, and make plans to join her at an upcoming canvass. We’re knocking doors every Saturday and Sunday until the election!

How did you find out about FLIP NC?   

My friend Sarah told me about a FLIP NC event at Beer Study last year. I was very inspired by the speakers.  

What has surprised you most about canvassing?   

That it’s fun! I was very reluctant to canvass because I typically haven’t been as knowledgeable about politics as I thought I should be. But since I do know how to listen to people, and I enjoy it, I’ve found canvassing to be fun. Also, it’s incredibly gratifying to talk to people who clearly might not have voted if we hadn’t talked to them. Including when I can genuinely empathize with those who say they don’t feel very informed and reassure them that we have information to share, which seems to lead them to feel more comfortable about the prospect of voting.

Do you like to recruit a friend or relative to sign up to canvass with you, or do you prefer to be paired with a stranger to add to the fun?

I’ve usually canvassed with a friend, but the other weekend I went with a woman who was new to canvassing, and it was fun to show her the ropes.


If you've participated in other canvasses, how are FLIP NC canvasses different?

Pizza at the end is great incentive to get out there! 

Have a funny story or touching moment to share?

One time, the husband of our target voter answered the door, and he stayed to talk with us when his wife came out. He described himself as very much an independent voter and uncertain whether he’d vote for the Democratic candidates. We had one of the best conversations with that couple that I’ve had while canvassing because they both were so thoughtful about their choices, and both were truly engaged in the conversation.  

What's your top canvassing tip?

Tune in carefully to the person you’re talking to, so you can tailor your focus to what they care about and where they’re coming from. For example, the other weekend I spoke with a woman who was very clear that she is going to vote. Then she mentioned talking to her daughter, who’s in college in Durham, about voting this year for the first time. I focused the conversation on encouraging her to tell her daughter to vote in Holly Springs because her vote there will be so important.  

What is really motivating you to get involved? Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why."

I’ve gotten involved with FLIP NC in particular because I find the approach to be so well grounded in the evidence and so logical. I like logic! And I have gotten discouraged when Democrats stoop to the same kind of name calling and hyperbole that’s come out of the Republican camp. I find FLIP NC’s positive, clear, focused, very strategic approach to be quite refreshing.

How are you feeling about the 2018 election? Optimistic?

Cautiously optimistic.

Other than politics, what’s a passion of yours?

I’m a big fan of the YMCA because it’s such a great representation of Durham, and I go there regularly for Zumba and to play racquetball.

Who do you admire in politics?

I’m going to take a little liberty with this question – one person I most admire from the political world stage is Desmond Tutu. While technically he’s a human rights activist, his influence on the political processes that transpired through incredibly difficult times in South Africa was truly admirable and heroic. If South Africans could come back from those times and find reconciliation and forgiveness for each other, then it seems like we should be able to find a way to do the same here in the U.S.

What would you say to someone who is feeling totally dejected by our current state of politics? And how do you stay in the fight?

Regarding dejection, refer to my previous answer. I stay in the fight because I believe so many people in this country truly care about maintaining a true democracy – and care about all the people of the country.

Tell us about a political moment that inspired you, whether it was a personal conversation, a speech given by a president, or a recent "blue wave" moment.

When my daughter was in grade school, I chaperoned her class field trip to Washington, D.C. While we were there, Congressman David Price spoke to the class, and I was very moved by his words. At the time, I was feeling pretty demoralized by the negative and adversarial tone of politics, and this was eight years ago! Congressman Price spoke passionately about the power of the design of the U.S. government and the freedoms we have in this country, including the freedom to disagree with each other. He helped remind me of the value of the foundations of our government. And that is what keeps me fighting now – to fight the current efforts to erode those foundations.