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Lynda Hopkins: A Day in the Life of a Politician...


Lynda Hopkins: A Day in the Life of a Politician, Mother, Wife, Farmer, and Business Woman

By Jonah Raskin

Politicians and candidates for public office do not live by campaign speeches and policy statement alone. Still, for the most part, the media has neglected the human face of the candidates for local office and that’s too bad. Personality, temperament and the backstory matter greatly as anyone who has paid attention to the 2016 presidential race surely know. What’s true for the whole country is also true for Sonoma.

At the end of the day, office seekers aren’t that different from the citizens whose votes they seek. They eat, they sleep, they worry, and they dream. Their families are at the heart of their days. The following chronological narrative, based on questions from the reporter and answers from the candidate takes readers through a day in the life of Lynda Hopkins who is a mother, a wife, a farmer at Foggy River Farm, and a businesswoman, as well as a politician. There are only so many waking hours in a day, but Hopkins seems to fill almost all of them.

3 a.m. After a brief sleep, wakes up, rubs her eyes and begins to think about adopting a new strategy for the campaign. It’s never too late for adjustments. Remembers her meeting with Congressman Mike Thompson who declined to support her – she had asked. He said he was keeping out of the race in the Fifth District. Then goes back to sleep. 

5:45 a.m. A couple of hours later, opens eyes again wakes for real, stretches, gets out of bed, thinks about her first stop on the campaign trail and what to wear for the next 12 hours or so. Not an easy task to pick out what will be comfortable and appropriate all day. 

Selects a plain skirt and sweater, gets dressed, checks herself in the mirror, then with husband, Emmett, helps toddlers get into their clothes, an activity that can be a bit of a zoo. The three-year-old fusses about what she’ll wear to her pre-school that’s close to home. Hopkins makes breakfast for herself – hot chocolate with coconut oil for calories that she’ll burn off during the day. Drinks some and pours the rest into a travel mug she takes with her. 

7:33 Leaves home in dark blue Prius, tunes into country and western station on the car radio, listens to an Emily Lou Harris song. In her head, replays her comments at last big meeting, comes up with a few ideas about what she could have said. Wonders if she was too assertive, or not assertive enough, too nice or not nice enough. Should she dispel the myths about her or ignore them, she asks herself? Wishes there was fact checking for local as well as national elections. 

7:50 Arrives at headquarters in Sebastopol to meet with Herman G. Hernandez, campaign manager and the rest of the team. Herman urges her to get out more, pound the pavement more and knock on more doors. 

9:03 Checks the mailer that will go out in a day or so. Takes Herman’s advice and canvases the neighborhood near Analy High School, remembers that on the first day of the campaign she worried about invading the privacy of citizens. That thought still crosses her mind, but by now knocking on doors has become a way of life. “Hi, I’m Lynda Hopkins, I’m running for supervisor in the fifth District and I wanted to introduce myself,” she tells a woman who answers the door.

She listens, asks questions, hands out her literature and moves on. At the next house, she’s surprised to meet a friend of a friend who hunts for mushrooms and who gives her a quarter-of-a-pound of dried black morels. Hopkins promises to return with winter squash from Foggy River Bottom Farm. 

11:16 Visits a large homeless encampment in Santa Rosa, realizes once again the depth and extent of the problem of homelessness all across the county. Talks with a woman who wants and needs housing; agrees to help her.

Lunchtime: Goes to King Falafel in Sebastopol and as always orders a falafel and a kombucha.  Returns phone calls from local reporter who left messages and wants to talk about the issues. 

2:02 p.m. Back on the farm, meets with members of Foggy River Farm CSA who stop to pick up their boxes with fresh produce. Checks up on the goatherd, now down to 12 goats. Wanders through cornfield, harvests late season ears of corn. When asked by a CSA member about Prop 64, says she supports legalization of cannabis, argues that it ought to be part of Sonoma County’s diversified agricultural landscape, but worries that corporations will move in and take-over. 

4:04 Picks up kids from pre-school, talks with them about their day and about hers, takes them to a meet-and-greet at La Fondita, the Mexican restaurant in Roseland, where her campaign will hold its Election Night party, which she thinks of as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Listens to the mariachi band, eats a taco and guacamole and chips, makes sure the kids have food. Talks with Emmett about the 1,000 pounds or so of beans that are drying in the field on the farm and that will need to be covered with a tarp in case it rains.

8:07 Puts kids to bed. Looks at weather report online. With Emmett, relaxes and download her day, looks forward to his birthday celebration. 

9:30 Talks on the phone with campaign strategist Rob Muelrath, tells him she had more anxiety watching the debate between Clinton and Trump than at any time during her own campaign. 

10:45 Gets into pjs and brushes teeth. Looks forward to six or seven hours of sleep, but before long the three-year-old wakes in the next room, and crawls into bed with mom and dad. It’s all a part of a long day in the life of Lynda Hopkins. 




Foggy River Farm CSA

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