Picnic Pix

There’s no better way to launch a week than with a party! We can’t remember a Monday better than this past one, when so many NJ 11th for Change members gathered in Stacey and Ted Abenstein’s beautiful backyard — for a picnic with our very own congresswoman, Mikie Sherrill!



After the “lost years” of COVID-19, it was a delight to gather together and catch up with old friends and new friends alike, with dedicated volunteers and grassroots leaders and the good folks from “Team Mikie.”


Intern extraordinaire Nikita and her mom Nita with their congresswoman. Nikita completed spreadsheets for over 15 towns this winter, allowing us to analyze and pinpoint the towns where we can be most effective! She is currently working on mailing VBM applications to voters, and will soon be canvassing and phone banking.


Facebook moderator and haiku master Galk Lalk brought her husband to the picnic — to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary!


Mikie updated us on the recent passage of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (hurrah!) and spoke about the work ahead.

"It’s been a little bit fraught," she said. "We’ve had a tough couple of years. But I don’t know if all of you are feeling it. The momentum is really shifting. It is. It is, thanks to so many of you, who didn’t lose faith over the years now that we have been trying to pass some really great legislation for this country. All of you who kept calling my office and kept saying, Look we need this!"

She also shared her optimism about the future of freedom in our country:

"Now I’m going to talk about something that you might not see as the good news that I kind of see it as. But I will tell you. We have known for years now that the attacks on choice, on Roe, on abortion were coming. And now they’re here. And now WE’RE all here! We are ready to fight. And we are ready to make sure that we make the structures around our freedom, our liberties, women in this country, minorities in this country, we are going to make those even stronger."


Mara Novak introducing Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.
Thanks to Pat Ceasar (at right) for so many of these photos!
Thanks also to Carly Abenstein and Pat Doherty for sharing their great pics.


We were thrilled that Mikie was able to spend so much time with us. Between the predictable flurry of summer campaigning for the November election, and the surprise rush of late-summer legislation in D.C., Mikie’s schedule undoubtedly has “supply chain problems” of its own.



The fact that Mikie was willing to take an hour out of her hectic schedule to schmooze with us really means something.

But what does it mean, really?

We know that we’re lucky to have such an engaged, up-close-and-personal representative. Not every district is so lucky. But it’s not about luck.

It’s about the close relationship we’ve built with Mikie over time.

It’s about us knowing that we can rely on her to show up for us in Congress, and hear us out when we have concerns about issues. And it’s about her knowing that she can rely on us to support her when elections roll around (which, for the House of Representatives, is pretty darn often).



We’re going to be blunt.

When it comes to electoral politics, here’s the cold hard fact of the matter:




Congressional representatives work their tails off. (Well, the good ones do, anyway, and we’ve got one of the best). They hike back and forth between D.C. and their home districts all year long, they read thousands of pages of proposed legislation, slog through endless committee meetings and negotiations, field concerns from constituents and show up to vote in ways that balance the complex needs of their districts.

They fundraise constantly because — given their two-year terms of office — they can’t afford not to; and as soon as one election is done, they have to start campaigning for next one.

And, if they’re like Mikie, they somehow manage to parent a passel of kids, raise a puppy, and never let anyone see them sweat.

Well. Maybe just a little “glow” now and then. It’s August, after all.


So when a busy, busy representative during an extra-busy campaign season and an atypically extended legislative session makes time to hang out with a group like NJ 11th for Change, it means we have EARNED it.

Over the past five years, NJ 11th for Change members have shown up consistently to support Mikie Sherrill. We provided the people-power necessary to win the 2018 and 2020 elections. We knocked on thousands upon thousands of doors, and send hundreds of thousands of postcards, text messages, and phone-bank calls.

Mikie can make the case for spending so much time with us because she KNOWS that there will be cake. Whoops, pardon, sorry: because she knows that we will do the hard work it takes to help her get reelected. She knows our members care, and will continue to show up for her. We will continue to canvass, to phone bank, to text bank, to write.

(And YES: there will also be cake.)


We love having Mikie’s ear. We love that she supports our organization, and that when we throw a picnic, she shows up.

We get to party with a congresswoman! How cool is that?



We want to continue to earn that access. To do that, it means each of us has to make the decision to lend a hand. We need to make that decision NOW. Let’s extend our gratitude toward Mikie and her team for making our grand event so fabulous, and for living up to our standards by being transparent, responsive and accountable. Let’s extend our gratitude in the only way that matters in this incredibly important election season.

You know the best way
to say thank you to Mikie:


We wish we could say that Mikie has this election in the bag — but these are unpredictable times, and our opponents have a knack for keeping their supporters under the radar until Election Day. Midterm elections are historically low-turnout races, which means that if our voters stay home and theirs come out, Mikie is sunk. We can't leave any stone unturned — especially in the towns newly re-districted into CD-11: Dover, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Millburn, South Orange, and parts of Mendham, Montclair and Wayne.

We know what we need to do. YOU know what YOU need to do. It's time to get your name on the volunteer list, register for specific action events, and show up! We are so excited to see you at upcoming canvass launches and phone banks. We know Team Mikie feels the same way. Check out the “Events & Volunteer Opportunities” section below for LOTS of ways you can help Mikie win in November!





NOTE: Our new Volunteer Opportunities webpage will always be updated with the current week’s roster of actions you can take to support your favorite candidates. Please bookmark it, and check it regularly!



Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30 pm — Mikie Sherrill TOWN HALL MEETING, at a location in Little Falls. This event will be live and in-person.

Please register at sherrill.house.gov/townhall. Registered residents will receive the exact address of the town hall ahead of the event. As a safety precaution, only registered guests will be admitted.

The town hall will also stream live at 6:30 PM on Rep. Sherrill's Facebook page.



(Click the links for details, and to register)







  • Tabling at Events: Is your town planning any civic events, festivals, street fairs, or farmers markets? Let us know, so we can help your community get ready to vote! There's nothing more satisfying than setting up shop at a local community event and encouraging constituents to vote or learn about their candidates. If you're interested, please email Mara! We're looking for volunteers to:

    • tell us about events in their towns and counties, and
    • come on out and staff the tables!

  • Vote-By-Mail Letter Campaign: Not all NJ voters know they have to actively request a mail-in ballot this year. That’s where YOU can help! We’ll provide the official VBM request forms and a list of names and addresses; you provide postage, post-its, and envelopes. Write a quick personal note on the post-it encouraging the recipient to vote by mail, stick it to the request form, stuff it in the envelope, and send it off! We have a tight list of in-district voters who need this little push to significantly increase their turnout rates. Let’s make it easy for them to do the right thing!

    Interested in helping? Join the team by emailing NJ 11 Field Director Stacey Abenstein and putting “VBM CAMPAIGN” in the subject line. (Can't write but want to donate stamps or stamp-money? Email Stacey!)


Packets getting ready to go, straight from Stacey's dining room table to yours!


  • Working America Letter-Writing Campaign: You know that NJ 11th for Change usually focuses close to home — no national campaigns that make us roam far afield. HOWEVER! We do make one exception! Our volunteers have been participating in Working America's national letter campaign for several years, with terrific success! Working America (the activism branch of AFL-CIO) is a data-driven organization with its finger on the pulse of their electorate, and they have a meticulously field-tested, proven strategy for swinging votes in tight races. They know exactly which voters to touch, and exactly what issues and messages will do the job.

    How does it work? You will be sent a document with the text of a carefully crafted letter, focused on one of three core issues that (research shows!) turns red voters blue. You'll also get a list of addresses. Type a few additional personal sentences into the document, print it out, sign it by hand, stuff it in an envelope and mail it off with a handwritten address. Print, sign, and stuff till you’ve completed your list! (You’ll need to provide stationery and stamps.) Our experienced volunteers say that it’s quicker and easier than writing postcards … and the vote-swing rate is the envy of grassroots groups from coast to coast!

    Interested in helping? Get on the list by emailing NJ 11’s Working America expert, Jim Price, and putting “WORKING AMERICA” in the subject line. (Can't write but want to donate stamps or stamp-money? Email Jim!)


  • COMING SOON: NJ 11th for Change Postcarding: Interested in joining our crack team of postcarders? Email NJ 11 Field Director Stacey Abenstein and put “NJ11 POSTCARDS” in the subject line. We'll be in touch as soon as we're ready to launch the postcarding portion of our 2022 efforts! (Can't write but want to donate stamps or stamp-money? Email Stacey!)


  • Operation Diggin’ Up the Dirt: Mikie’s opponent, Paul DeGroot, is a hard-right Trumper. He is also keeping very quiet in the public sphere about his positions; suspiciously quiet, one might say. We’re building a team to gather intel about his positions — and anything else that voters need to know.
    To get involved, contact NJ 11th for Change Research Director Patricia Doherty, and put “DEGROOT RESEARCH” in the subject line.