“My first experience with deep canvassing was getting deep canvassed,” recalls Ossai, 34, who first encountered the strategy as it was being deployed by the grassroots group Pennsylvania Stands Up to build support for the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in universal healthcare.

She was so swayed by her initial deep canvassing experience that she joined the Pennsylvania Stands Up campaign.

Deep canvassing contrasts sharply with traditional canvassing, which aims to boost turnout by targeting voters affiliated with an issue or party on a mass scale, and presenting facts and information to encourage them to vote; but there’s increasing evidence door-knocking alone is not an effective strategy

The job of a deep canvasser is to listen and gauge participants’ emotional response to a topic, and then methodically build lasting human and emotional connections by sharing personal anecdotes and by asking participants to do the same. In other words, canvassers talk to a participant the way they might talk to them if they weren’t part of a political campaign. When executed well, the strategy can often enable canvassers to cut through people’s entrenched biases and preconceived notions about politics and party lines.

Click here to read the full report from TRNN’s Jaisal Noor on deep canvassing in Pennsylvania.


This series was made possible with the support of the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.


Transcript

Onah Ossai:    Where I live currently, there’s a Let’s Go Brandon flag down the street. There’s also still some people that have got some Biden signs still up. It is super politically divided, and it’s wild.

Jaisal Noor:  I’m Jaisal Noor with The Real News Network. Progressive organizers aren’t shying away from hitting the pavement and knocking on doors to sway rural voters in key swing states that will play an outsized role in determining the winners of the 2022 midterm elections.

Onah Ossai:     I’m not fearful to knock a door and have a hard conversation. I love to have a hard conversation. But there were times where I would have an address that’d be up a one mile gravel driveway only one car could get up. And there’s a big MAGA billboard – Because out here in Pennsylvania in rural areas people make their own wooden billboard signs – That say Trump.

Jaisal Noor:     As part of our ongoing series supported by Solutions Journalism we’re examining the strategies activists across the country are using to not just get out to vote, but to build genuine community power. Our most recent story focuses on the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, where we spoke to Onah Ossai, a rural field organizer with the grassroots group Pennsylvania Stands Up about deep canvassing. A strategy activists are deploying this year to win over tough to reach voters, especially in rural areas marked by deep partisan divides.

Onah Ossai:    I don’t want to get stuck. I don’t want someone to be coming down this driveway at the same time I’m going up. And then being like, what are you doing here?

Jaisal Noor:    As Ossai describes, deep canvassing involves active listening, asking non-judgemental questions, and forming an emotional bond with your subject through meaningful conversations. Studies have shown that compared to traditional canvassing techniques, this type of approach of canvassing has a much higher success rate with overcoming bigotry and building support for progressive causes among potential voters.

Onah Ossai:    One important thing is that anybody can deep canvas, and it doesn’t just have to be when someone gives you a turf. You just got to ask uncle Jerry, you know, uncle Jerry, why do you think you’re so opposed to these masks in schools? Have you ever had to do something to protect other people? Has that ever happened before in your life? And uncle Jerry will tell you, you know, why and when was the time he had to protect somebody else and he had to do something. Maybe that made him a little bit uncomfortable because it would be good for something else.

Jaisal Noor:     Here’s our interview with Central Pennsylvania native Onah Ossai, who starts off by describing how she was introduced to deep canvassing.

Onah Ossai:    My first experience with deep canvassing was getting deep canvassed. I was on my front porch smoking a cigarette. I have since quit smoking, but I was smoking a cigarette and I was being nosy, and there were these two people and they were knocking on my neighbor’s door, and he wasn’t home. But also, I knew that he probably didn’t want people knocking on his door and I wanted to know what they wanted. And so I was like, he’s not home. What do you want? I was being a nosy neighbor and they were like, oh, well, if he’s not home can we talk to you? I said, fine. So they came over and started talking to me about universal healthcare, but then they asked me about immigration and undocumented immigrants. And we had a conversation and shared some personal stories back and forth about my family’s experience with immigration and their experiences with immigration and also health care.

Then it was really great. We talked for I think 20 something minutes. And then I got a call a week later and they were like, you had really great stories and the canvassers really thought they were really powerful. And then the next thing you know, I’m doing it. Next thing you know I had a full time job. I’m a single mom and I don’t have the time. And I found the time, and I was knocking people’s doors. At first, I was like, I’ll do it four hours a week. I was out there 20 hours, 25 hours a week knocking on doors in my area and talking to people about universal healthcare and undocumented immigrants, which is wild because it’s Central PA, people have a lot of spicy opinions.

Jaisal Noor:    So now was this your first experience with political canvassing or had you been involved in that before?

Onah Ossai:    It was really the first time I ever really engaged in political canvassing, Yeah.

Jaisal Noor:     So the people listening to this probably have had their doors knocked on before. They’ve probably talked to people supporting candidates, and deep canvassing is very different.

Onah Ossai:     Yeah. And something that’s super important to know is not just people who don’t agree with you that you also need to canvas, because even though people agree with you, it doesn’t mean it’s inspiring enough to get them to get up and do something about it. I can believe that something is super important, but it’s not personally connected to me enough to inspire me to get up and do something about it, right? To make a decision or a choice based on it. So when we are doing deep canvassing, it’s not just people who disagree with us in theory, it’s really everyone that we really need to connect with. And traditional canvassing, you go out, I mean, I’ve been canvassed. You go out and you knock on the door and hopefully the person will talk to you and not shut it in your face. And you say, hi, I’m so and so, and I’m from this organization, and we’re out here talking to people today about minimum wage, and we think that a minimum wage should be $15 an hour because of X, Y, Z.

And then you hand the person some lit, then you go to the next door because you’ve got a list of like 150 doors you’ve got to knock in a certain amount of time. And so the goal is to just get the information into as many people’s hands as possible, and then maybe engage with them a little bit at the door for a couple minutes, but you don’t spend too much time. It’s really more about giving people information and giving people your opinion on something and information on your opinion but there’s no real connection there, right? When you leave, that person does not remember you three weeks later. They forget. But when you deep canvas someone, you are starting out just asking them how they feel about something and not just what they think about it, but really how they feel about it.

And they’ll give you a number on a scale. It kind of helps you gauge how they feel about a topic, but you start to figure when you go into the next step, which is you start to share stories about the topics you’re engaging in with the people. And you tell them personally how your life, these things have affected you, and you ask them the same because it’s a two-way street sharing. And you really have to take an engaged interest in what they are saying. Because when people have opinions about things, they’re formed off of, a lot of times, superficial stuff. We see stuff on the news, we form opinions based on those types of things. But what we don’t recognize is that a lot of the opinions that we hold are rooted within our own feelings, and that if we actually dig into how we feel about things, that we have conflicting views.

So for example, you could have someone whose parent was an undocumented immigrant, but who also works somewhere where there’s a lot of immigrants, and they feel some type of injustice is being done to them because they didn’t get a promotion or something because of these people. They could have two conflicting views, which is one that their parent deserved to be cared for, but at the same time that these other people are taking from them. When you deep canvas, you are really helping people to dig into those personal parts of why they feel the way they do and to make sense of why they feel the way they do, and bring them around to the idea of what it is that you’re there to canvas on.

Jaisal Noor:     And so you talked about, you mentioned, you were kind of referred to the area you’re working in right now. For people that had never been there before… People know that Pennsylvania is a battleground state. It’s been a key state in presidential elections. It took a special focus last year and in 2016 as well. What is the political climate? Especially in rural areas and what impact does that have on these conversations you’re having?

Onah Ossai:    Political climate right now is very wild, not that it always hasn’t been. But we’ve seen it a lot more recently rear its ugly head at these school board meetings and things like this. But yeah, it’s weird. There’s a lot of suburbs. It’s very rural pockets where I am at in Central Pennsylvania. We have pockets of rural areas, and pockets of suburban areas, and then some urban centers, some cities like Lancaster and Harrisburg and York. So all of that to be said, it’s hard to talk about politics with your neighbors because you won’t like them. So it can be something else. Where I live currently there’s a Let’s Go Brandon flag down the street. There’s also still some people that have got some Biden signs still up a couple blocks down. I think there’s still an Elizabeth Warren sign. One of my neighbors still has that. It’s a very interesting area to live in. It is super politically divided, and it’s wild because everywhere you go, it’s divided. There’s always going to be spicy hot takes from either side.

Jaisal Noor:    And so can you sort of talk about the… So you were involved in the 2020 campaign. And what lessons you learned from that, that are being worked into the midterms, getting ready for the midterms?

Onah Ossai:    One is just, you have… Oh, man, 2020 was really hard. It was very divisive. Trump was such a polarizing figure, and Biden to some extent was also a polarizing figure, which doesn’t get talked about a lot, but Biden was also a very polarizing figure. People were super despondent, I think that’s the word. Where people were at the end of their ropes. It was COVID, people are already really on edge because of everything that was going on. So when we were making these calls and knocking doors during the election, it was really important to just start off with checking in with people, just how they’re doing, because to be honest I don’t think anyone is doing well right now or was then. And making that connection was super important. Sometimes it was like, okay, before we canvas, this person needs these resources they didn’t know about.

So we’re going to direct them to that or help them out with that and then we’ll get into the conversation. But 2020 was a very difficult year politically, but I think just also for everyone overall in the pandemic 2020 was very difficult. Going into 2022, I think one of the biggest lessons learned is that A, you have to be on doors. Because in 2020, you couldn’t be on doors as much, had to be on the phone more because of COVID. Obviously COVID is still here, obviously it’s not going anywhere, but I think that connecting with people on the doors is really important. People inundated with phone calls, not answering phones and that sort of thing, but also just the lack of personal connection everyone’s had for the past two years, it’s super important to be able to do that and also and do it in a really safe way. And we know that we can do that.

I think that’s a huge lesson learned. I think another important lesson learned is, don’t lie to people. If you are going to say that you believe in something, you should really believe in it. And that’s super important. You should not just believe in it, but you should know why you believe in it. Why you care so much. Because that’s what’s also really important with connecting with voters.

Jaisal Noor:    I was watching this clip online where you’re describing talking to a white voter.

Onah Ossai:     I canvassed a young white guy in a rural area outside of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was very stone-faced. He was not interested in sharing with me, but he allowed me to share my story with him of my aunt who had been here undocumented. He asked me why I felt that we should have to take care of other people, why we shouldn’t just have to take care of our own families. And I shared with him that I used to be a person who felt that way, but then I became a mother, and becoming a mother made me appreciate other people and understand their experiences who were different than mine. When I shared this with him, I could see that this had touched him. He looked at his daughter who was standing next to him on the porch and then he said to me, I guess I never thought about it in the way of how our own personal experiences will affect our opinions. And when we came towards the end of our conversation, I could tell that this conversation had a deep impact on how he felt about immigrants in general.

Jaisal Noor:    Can you talk about that exchange and how that went down and what you took away from it?

Onah Ossai:    Yeah. I think that American individualism is something else. When you talk to people at the door, especially specifically if we’re talking about immigration and linking it to healthcare, but in general about immigration, there is a sense that someone is taking something from you. That you’ve generated something, you’ve created something and you’ve done something, and that someone else who does not deserve it is coming and taking it from you. And there’s also a failure to realize the way that we collectively support each other on a daily basis. So people really don’t think too much about how they’ve been helped by other people as they go along, whether or not it’d be like your friend sharing their french fries with you, that is collectivism. They didn’t have to do that, and people fail to recognize all the ways that we already socially have a contract with one another. I don’t throw trash in my neighbor’s yard. It might be a law, I don’t know. I just don’t do it because it’s not right.

So in having conversations with that specific voter that you’re talking about, that sentiment comes from so many people. And there’s an idea that there’s a scarcity. We have this idea that there is a finite number of things that are available and that if we give them to someone else that there’ll be less available for us. And that is not true. This is a country that throws away massive amounts of food every single year. This is a country that produces so much waste every year because of the amount of goods that we just throw away. There is no real scarcity problem. The scarcity that we have is really that connection that we have to our neighbors and to one another. That’s what scares me when talking to these people at the door.

In those conversations, it’s really important to ask the person you’re talking to, if you’re saying, why do I have to help this other person? Why should I? I worked hard for this. Why should I have to help somebody else? And you have to ask, has there ever been a time you needed help and someone just helped you? Every single person has had a time they needed help and that someone else helped them. Every single one of us. And if you don’t have that story, I just don’t believe it. We have to get it out of you because, do you have a story? Have you ever been helped? Yeah, we all have been. So that’s the way to combat that message.

Jaisal Noor:    And what specific campaigns did you work on in 2020? And what are you going to be working on over the next year?

Onah Ossai:    2020? Okay, that was… What a wild year. So we’ve finished, we wrapped a campaign, the immigration campaign, the universal healthcare campaign in 2020, then we moved into, locally here, a defund the police campaign which sparked after the George Floyd situation. And it was something that was super powerful. People felt inspired to go to the streets and we engaged in a deep canvas campaign around defunding the police which was super interesting. And then we launched into campaigns for Joseph Robinette Biden and –

Jaisal Noor:     Were you in Minneapolis?

Onah Ossai:     No, I was not in Minneapolis.

Jaisal Noor:      Okay.

Onah Ossai:    We were right here locally. Because around the country at that time, it wasn’t just Minneapolis. There were so many places that started deep canvassing. I saw of other orgs using deep canvassing for defunding the police was super beneficial in 2020 to bringing people into a movement and also inspiring people and helping people make sense and make meaning of what that means, because it is such a divisive topic that people being able to make meaning of it was super important, and understand what the words mean.

Jaisal Noor:     And what happened with that local campaign you were working on, the defund campaign?

Onah Ossai:     It was really good. First of all, everyone who was involved, all the people who went out and canvassed gained a lot from it, but also the people who we talked to, we were able to build up some work and to try to really get some meaningful cuts to budgets here. But also something that was more important was the idea of community care being something that should be funded, and that local municipal governments should absolutely be involved in caring for their citizens. So in the city of Harrisburg it was able to lead to a campaign to get an eviction moratorium from the city that allowed people to stay in their homes. They hadn’t recognized until people were calling for them to cut police funding and help pay people’s rents. They hadn’t realized how many people had been put out of their homes. And so it was one really good way to get the citizenry engaged in that local process, which can be difficult. And everything important that happens, happens locally. Yeah.

Jaisal Noor:    And then so the Biden campaign, you worked on that. That was one of the places where there’s data that showed that deep canvassing did make a significant impact on the voters that the Democrats needed to win over in these very close races, in these swing states. Can you talk about the impact that deep canvassing made?

Onah Ossai:    Oh, absolutely. And just to clear the record, I did not work on the Biden campaign. We definitely made tons and tons of calls and knocked doors for Joseph Biden to get elected. Yeah. So that was, first of all, the first time that I had ever utilized this to support a candidate. Which, once you involve a candidate’s name, it can get a little bit tricky because that adds… When you go on a topic you can kind of work people’s feelings around that one topic. When it’s a candidate you’re kind of working around a million emotions that they have about this person based on perceived policies they might have, or also perceived personality things they don’t like. So it was very interesting to see the differences between doing that.

In deep canvassing for Joe Biden, I found in a lot of my neighbors a real sense that, first of all, a lot of people were really affected by COVID. So there was a lot of uncertainty that people had anyway about what was going to happen and uncertainty about what to do and whether or not to vote. So sometimes it felt like just getting them out to decide to go vote. Okay, yes you support Joe Biden, right? You want to make sure Trump’s out of office, but where’s your motivation to get up and go vote when you feel like it doesn’t matter? Like everything’s just unraveling all at once.

And so part of what deep canvassing does is helps people connect with what matters to them and why things are important to them specifically. And so when we were having these conversations it was really important to be like, what’s going on in your life right now? And what is going on with you with this pandemic? Look at all the things that have happened, and why is it so important for you to make sure that we don’t allow this same failed leadership to continue? And really when they connect with that particular thing about their family, their loved ones, their stories, why it’s so important to them, that was really going to motivate them to vote. So, yeah, that was super interesting about that time.

Jaisal Noor:    So now two years later, we are actually in a worse place in terms of the pandemic than we were. A lot of people are struggling to still have those basic needs met, and the Democrats have delivered significant relief, but I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people are still really struggling. So that’s going to be a whole other thing to deal with now. And so my question is, what kind of limitations is deep canvassing going to be meeting over this next year? Because you’re not going to be able to make the same argument you were two years ago.

Onah Ossai:    Well, the great thing about deep canvassing is you’re not really making an argument. I’m not making an argument with you when I come to deep canvas you. I want to know why you care about something, and I want to know why you feel the way that you feel about something, and I’m going to ask you real questions to get to the root of why you feel that way. And you’re going to be thinking of all these things and your own brain is going to process its own stuff. So I don’t have to make the argument. If what I’m deep canvassing on is truly something that is beneficial for people, they will come to that conclusion on their own. I’m just a guide. So in that respect, I think that coming up into, and I think anytime you’re attaching a candidate to it, not just the issues, that candidate, what you’re doing, that candidate also has to really have those types of values that are going to come out when I deep canvas people. If they don’t, it’s not going to land.

So I think that having strong candidates running, I think that when we look at stuff, when we talk about the relief that was sent, there are a lot of municipalities sitting on ARPA money right now. That’s why just having the money, the federal government sending money to people is so beneficial. As your municipalities and your states are actually appropriating the money to people that need the money now. So when people are feeling like their government isn’t doing anything and I dig in and I’m like, why aren’t you going to vote and go out there and vote your values? They say, it doesn’t matter. They don’t do anything anyway. And I’ll say, wow, that’s interesting. Why do you feel that way?

And they will tell me why they feel that way. And they’ll feel that way because that’s their perception. People have lied to them before, and they perceive that there’s no end in sight to the lying. And that’s where you start to challenge it and say, I might believe the same thing, but it’s also why it’s super important to me for vote for this incumbent now, or keep this person who has actually done these things in office, because they’re the only one listening to me right now. And that’s where it comes from. So this midterm’s going to be interesting. We are, like you said, in the middle of a pandemic and people are still really hurting, and the hurt’s different this time around because it just feels like kind of everything. It feels like we’re [cosplaying] before 2020 at the time we’re in.

So it’ll be really interesting going into it. But I think now is the time, because now when people are feeling the pain of what can go wrong when you have the wrong people in power, when you have people in power who aren’t going to make sure people are masking or aren’t going to make sure people have the support they need or funding for the schools that they need or are supporting teachers when they need it. I think people are fired up this year. And I think that these local races are something that could get people out to the polls. I think that these state races are things that will get people out to the polls when they really know why it matters to them and their families.

Jaisal Noor:    And I know you’re going to have some training coming up, some deep canvassing training. Can you talk about how that works, how it’s different than a traditional training, and what kind of skills and values does that training emphasize?

Onah Ossai:    Yeah. So a deep canvas training typically longer, so a good, deep, deep canvassing training will be longer than a traditional canvas launch and a traditional script. Deep canvassing scripts are pretty long. Deep canvases are meant to last where you’re talking to someone at the door between 15 to 20 minutes, a good conversation can go 30 minutes at the door. So therefore the script that you’re using is longer, and it takes people a little bit to get used to it. You will learn the methodology of… An introduction of how it kind of works, because it’s super important to know that in order for it to work, you have to do it right. You have to ask people questions to get to the point, to get to their true emotions about an issue. And you’ll learn some good practices of what to do and what not to do. Deep canvassing is super emotional work.

So a lot of times you’ll leave crying at a door because you unearthed a story. I unearthed one from a neighbor down here when I first started about their son, who I did not know had leukemia. And I was wrecked for the rest of the night. And so –

Jaisal Noor:    Was that the healthcare campaign you mentioned?

Onah Ossai:    Yes. And I didn’t know that. The things you don’t know about your neighbors because you never think to ask really deep questions. And when you deep canvas people you learn to ask those questions and you learn to elicit stories from people that are really emotional and really touching. And that can also take a toll on you. So you learn to take care of yourself, you learn to take a minute to get in connection with how you’re feeling, because how you’re feeling is going to influence how you interact with the voter that you’re speaking with.

And you don’t want to do harm to them, and you don’t want to do harm to yourself, but you’ll learn how to do that. You will really just learn the script. That script is key, and you will really learn how to, when you need to, elicit stories and you go into that part where you do that, you will learn how to ask the question, and how far to go, and how deep to dig, and what to do when you hear someone mention a story, and how to get them to really connect that to the issue that they’re talking to them about.

Jaisal Noor:      I really want to ask you to really lay out what you think the limitations of deep canvassing are. What can’t it do? What are the biggest things to prevent it from being more, for example, used more widely?

Onah Ossai:    So it is, like I did speak about, it is a longer training. It is ongoing training. It’s ongoing reflections about how you can be better at it, because it is a technique that is something that you learn and you develop. It can be very emotional work. You are eliciting things from people that can be difficult. So burnout is very real, emotional burnout, especially if people aren’t remaining grounded and don’t have the support they need to carry on doing that work. The limitations to deep canvassing. It takes a long time. I mean, it does. When you want to get, if you have 100,000 doors to knock and you need to knock them in a certain amount of time, having a shorter conversation could seem to make sense to you. Is it going to be as effective? No, but it could make sense.

Deep canvassing is really meant to be long-term work. So there is a sense sometimes that we just want to force it to work quickly. We want to make it work during the midterm because we need to have a blue wave. When we know that these problems have been here, these problems have persisted, and that one midterm election isn’t going to fix it, and these voters know that too. The real essence of why and how deep canvassing works is because it takes the time, because it’s like a slow and low cook thing that you do. And you really spend the time to really engage people in a way that they don’t forget three weeks from now that they ever met you. You’re someone that they’re probably going to remember they talked to for a very long time, and they’re going to remember what you talked about, and they’re going to remember how they felt when you talked about it for a very long time.

So this is America, it’s capitalist. Money is always a limitation. Deep canvassing can cost a little more money than traditional canvassing. But at the end of the day, the results speak for themselves. It’s super powerful. It’s a super powerful tool.

Jaisal Noor:     Does it cost several times more? When you say it costs more, it sounds like it would cost a lot more.

Onah Ossai:     I guess it depends. You can do it all volunteer. But if you talk about cost in a monetary way, I think that it probably could be overhead. I don’t do financials, that’s not my bag. But the human cost that it takes can be a lot. Like I said, if I give you 100 doors to knock on a traditional canvas and you’re not getting deep with people, you’ll do it and you’ll just be tired at the end. Your legs might be sore and your hand might be cramped. If I send you out to do 100 doors in a deep canvas and you’re having real emotional conversations with people at the door, the cost there can be great. You get burned out faster, particularly if you don’t have the support you need, and support is very key. And I think we absolutely should be providing support to people doing this work because it can be very emotionally cumbersome, especially if you’re doing it right.

Jaisal Noor:    What insight have you learned from this process, from being deep canvassed, to deep canvassing that others can use, especially in these midterms coming up?

Onah Ossai:     Yeah. I think one important thing is that anybody can deep canvas, and it doesn’t just have to be when someone gives you a turf. If you learn how to do it, you can do it at Thanksgiving when your crazy uncle is saying stuff, you can deep canvass your crazy uncle. Yes, you can. Yeah. I just really, how important it is when people tell you something to really dig into why they feel that way. I did not ever before this, when I would argue with people about politics and how I thought stuff, I never really thought about why people feel the way they feel.

And there’s something super humanizing about having someone who could have a completely, what you might think is a crazed opinion about a topic, and then really digging into that with them and getting them to share why they feel that way. And what personally in their life led them to that is also like, oh, I could see that. That’s humanizing, and allows you to connect with them on another level and redirect that fear or anger to a different type of reaction to that issue.

Jaisal Noor:     So I think this is something that probably a lot of people could use right now dealing with their family members and friends, especially during this pandemic when there’s a lot of hopelessness and misinformation going around. So if you do have a relative… So how would you approach that, if you do have a relative that’s saying something that’s not matching reality? Talk a little bit more about how you would approach that.

Onah Ossai:    I mean, you just got to ask uncle Jerry, uncle Jerry, why do you think you’re so opposed to these masks in school? Have you ever had to do something to protect other people? Has that ever happened before in your life? And uncle Jerry will tell why and when there was a time he had to protect somebody else and he had to do something. Maybe that made him a little bit uncomfortable because it would be good for something else. And when you start to dig in with him on how’d that make you feel when you were able to help somebody, when you were able to protect somebody who really needed it, who was vulnerable and who really did need someone to look out for them?

And uncle Jerry touches on that. You know, that’s sort of what it’s like when people at the grocery store decide to wear masks. Is that they’re just making a choice that there’s someone out there that’s probably vulnerable and that they can be a little uncomfortable for 30 minutes so that those people can be safe.

Jaisal Noor:    Great. Well, thank you so much for sharing all your insight and your experiences with us.

Onah Ossai:      Absolutely. You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Jaisal Noor:       That was our interview with Onah Ossai, a rural field organizer with the grassroots group Pennsylvania Stands Up. Go to therealnews.com for all of our coverage of the 2022 midterms and the full print version of the story. This is Jaisal Noor.

Jaisal Noor

Jaisal is currently the Democracy Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network and is a former TRNN host, producer, and reporter. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now! and The Indypendent. Jaisal's mother has taught in the Baltimore City Public School system for the past 25 years. Follow him on Twitter @jaisalnoor.