Francis, a resident (and native) of Durham, is married to our co-founder, Briana Brough. They have two young sons. By day, Francis works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a park ranger at Falls Lake.
“My parents were the prototypical 1970s hippies who would bring my siblings and me to peace marches,” he says, “but I would not consider myself to have been ‘politically activated’ until I got involved with FLIP NC.” Now, he’s taking Teddy Roosevelt’s advice, as you’ll read below, to not “fritter away” his time.
Here, a Q&A with Francis. And be sure to join him at one of our upcoming canvasses!
What has surprised you most about canvassing?
I've been surprised with how much I enjoy going up and knocking on a total stranger's door. There is always a bit of anxiety there, but it is so satisfying to have meaningful conversations with all different kinds of people about the state of politics in NC, especially when you leave feeling like you have given them new information on how they can make a difference
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 have done some of both. I love canvassing with my wife the most, but I have also enjoyed being paired with strangers and really getting out of my comfort zone.
If you've participated in other canvasses, how are FLIP NC canvasses different?
FLIP NC's approach to making voter outreach a social and fun thing to do strikes me as unique, and I think it is a large part of our success.
Tell us what other volunteer work you've done with FLIP NC.
I have canvassed, supported text banking, helped with special events, and am part of the data team. My favorite volunteer activity is drawing the canvassing walk sheet maps in the VAN – trying to get each turf the right size, and as walkable as possible, is fun and challenging.
What's your top canvassing tip?
Remember to sync your data if you are using the Mini-VAN app! Bonus tip: Always remember to listen to the person you are making contact with, and adjust your tone and message accordingly.
What is really motivating you to get involved? Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why."
I have been motivated lately by the realization that I can't be apathetic any more about the direction of our state’s/country's politics. I have always been a frequent voter, but that is not enough. We need to encourage and motivate everyone to get involved and vote in every election.
How are you feeling about the 2018 election?
I am probably a little overly optimistic. I am so hopeful that we are going to surf this huge blue wave like a champ and ultimately FLIP NC in 2018.
Other than politics, what’s a passion of yours?
Enjoying and protecting Mother Nature and the outdoors.
Who do you admire in politics? Why?
Michelle Obama. I know there is a new wave of "if they go low, we go lower" mentality on the left, but I still prefer Michelle's approach of taking the high road. It's so hard not to get enraged by the other side, but the stone throwing and tribalism isn't going to solve any of the current political problems. To be able to enact meaningful solutions, we are going to have to find some common ground across broad segments of our society. Michelle was such a classy, charismatic, and compassionate leader, and I miss her dearly.
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.
I am personally inspired by a Theodore Roosevelt quote, and I think it epitomizes FLIP NC's laser-focused mission:
“Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.”