Meet a FLIPster – Katy McDougall-Collins

Katy discovered FLIP NC through “Pod Save America” (thanks, Lovett!). She learned about Indivisible during an episode of the podcast, went to Indivisible’s website, and that led her to our chapter. She has canvassed with FLIP NC about a dozen times. Her top canvassing tip? “Relax, be yourself, and have fun.” (Check out this video – Katy and her fellow FLIPsters demonstrate how easy canvassing is!)

Katy is a member of the new four-person FLIP NC Wake Leadership Team, which already has three successful canvasses and a happy hour social under their belt (and more events are scheduled – join us!). A Raleigh resident, Katy works in the digital world, “wearing a few different hats working on websites.”

Here, a Q&A with Katy.

What has surprised you most about canvassing?

How easy it is. A lot of the voters actually want to talk about what is going on, are happy to speak to you, and appreciate the information. I think this has a lot to do with who we focus our conversations on to begin with. Since we only canvass left-leaning voters, it's more productive. My hope feels replenished after a day of canvassing.

Katy, with her canvassing partner at a FLIP NC canvass last fall

Katy, with her canvassing partner at a FLIP NC canvass last fall

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 prefer a new partner. It's fun spending the day getting to know someone new, and, typically, people who are canvassing are passionate about what brought them out. I love hearing people's stories and getting a new perspective. I've met people from all walks of life and political persuasions, and the reasons they are motivated to get out and canvass are all different. It really comes through when they speak to people.  

Have a funny story or touching moment to share? Maybe something that happened while you were going door to door? A conversation you remember?

I went out with a new FLIPster one of the final weekends before Election Day, which was also the last weekend of The State Fair. A lot of people weren't home or had been canvassed already – which was a great sign for us because it meant the message had gotten out. It made us feel really confident, but we hadn't had as many conversations that day. My partner and I knocked on a door looking for one person, a college student who was not home. We were ready to go and leave information behind when the woman mentioned that she had voted for "the other side" in the recent election but had not seen the changes she had expected to see happen. She wanted to talk to us about the state race. She wasn't aware of the supermajority that was in place in North Carolina or that her district was flippable. She was happy to hear that. We spoke with her for a while. Eventually, her daughter and husband arrived home, and her daughter reported that she was also planning to vote as well. It was really cool.  

Why have you decided to step into a larger role this election cycle as part of FLIP NC’s Wake Leadership Team? 

I've voted in every election except for 2014 (I had moved back to Raleigh and didn't register in time), but I wouldn't have considered myself a "politically active" person until after 2016. I had opinions, I'd donated to campaigns, and I’d phone banked for Obama, but I didn't feel "connected" to the politicians. I think that made me a bit complacent. After the 2016 election, I realized it's not about the politicians as much as it's about us. We have a voice, and it needs to be heard. That's how change is going to happen. I think the more people realize this, the more they will become active. And the more people become active – the more things will change. I want change, and I think FLIP NC is a great way to work for it. 

Katy with the Wake Leadership Team. Left to right: Laura Ritchie, Katy, Helen Poston, and Anjali Patel

Katy with the Wake Leadership Team. Left to right: Laura Ritchie, Katy, Helen Poston, and Anjali Patel

What is really motivating you to get involved? Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why." 
I truly enjoy working with FLIP NC because state politics impact us so much. Criminal and civil justice – determined by city, county, and state laws and regulations. Health care – if you want to expand access, it starts at the state level. Education – access to public education is based on where you live. Big change starts here. Until getting involved with FLIP, I just didn't see how important local politics was. I'm excited about promoting change within the state and shaping North Carolina to become progressive. 

How are you feeling about the 2020 election?

I am optimistic. I think we have a great field of candidates, and momentum is on our side. 

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

Cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes. I have an entire bookcase of just cookbooks, Bon Appetit, and Cook's Illustrated. Every Sunday, I try to make one new thing. 

Who do you admire in politics?

Anyone willing to take a stand and speak truth fearlessly. I love AOC. She gives me hope. 

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.

Breaking the supermajority in the NCGA House and Senate in 2018!

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?

Find something you can do to make a difference, and then do it consistently. Also, take breaks from social media.