Though she often struggled with aspects of her own identity while contributing to the hectic process of political campaigns, field organizer Jackie Frankovich told students to be passionate for what they care about, just as she was. Her talk was a part of the Rainbow Center’s Out to Lunch Lecture Series held every Thursday afternoon.
“It’s hard not to want to quit,” Frankovich acknowledged, but she said that her motivation for getting through the adversity was “completely passion-driven.”
Having worked for a field organizer in Florida under both Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Alex Sink, Frankovich told students that she often worked more than 16 hours a day and every day of the week. She also said that having been in Pinellas County, she was used to seeing politicians try to appeal to such a diverse group of people, like the elderly, minorities and poor.
In addition to the regular stresses of organizing a political campaign for someone, Frankovich struggled with issues brought to her by her co-workers, bosses and even the people she talked to every day as part of her job.
“I’ve had people come up to me and ask why I didn’t reveal more of myself in order to secure more votes,” Frankovich said, in reference to a co-worker once telling her that she dressed too conservatively. She also mentioned how harassment came from regular people too, citing several instances of people telling her that she was “working too hard” and that she should “let a man take care of it.”
Frankovich also admitted that having worked on a conservative campaign, she temporarily couldn’t come to terms with coming out as a lesbian. However, even when she did, Frankovich was ostracized by one of her colleagues, asked several personal questions by others and one time even asked if she was only a lesbian because “she had a bad experience” in bed with a man before.
In some cases, challenges posed a direct threat to Frankovich’s well-being outside of words. She told students how one stalker called her six times in one day, went to her office to find her and even sent her a descriptive message on Facebook about what he thought of her. Frankovich said that she even had to go to the sheriff’s office a few times to secure her own safety.
However, Frankovich encouraged others to stay politically active and make a difference in what they can do for their community.
“I’ve seen it in person,” Frankovich said, mentioning how a few times she had seen candidates win elections in district because of as little as a few hundred votes.
“Every voice matters.”
Eighth-semester HDFS major, Michael McGowan, said that he especially admired Frankovich’s political optimism despite her adversity.
“For someone to go into a region like Florida and dedicate herself to political activism despite the challenges that obviously face her is admirable,” McGowan said.
Fleurette King, the director of the Rainbow Center, said she was impressed by Frankovich’s ability to deal with her personal problems and help a campaign.
“You stay focused on your passion and the big picture,” King said, saying that she was inspired by Frankovich’s cheerful demeanor.
As King and others demonstrated, Frankovich’s passion kept her focused despite the negative attitudes of those around her.