Will Forscher smiled as he put the finishing touches on the speech he had been writing and saved it to his computer. He stood up and stretched, then walked over to the quarter full coffee pot and went to pour himself a cup of the liquid upon which most political campaigns depended. He shook his head as what almost appeared to be sludge poured from the coffee pot and into his cup. Feeling daring, he took a tiny sip, grimaced and poured the contents of his cup and the coffee pot into the sink. He then prepared a fresh pot, hit the switch and waited for it to be ready.
At thirty three years of age, Will was living his dream. He was happy with everything in his life except for one thing, and he knew that would come along when the time was right. Will had worked hard to get to where he was now. He took a number of advanced placement courses in high school, which gave him college credits. His grandparents had set up an educational trust when he was born, so all of his expenses were paid through graduate school at Yale. By taking courses during the summer, he was able to earn his PhD in economics by the time he was twenty five. Now, eight and a half years later, Will Forscher was the National Issues Director for the presidential campaign of the woman described as "the most dynamic member of the US Senate" and as "the conscience of the Senate".
Will met Dr. Janice Rener at Yale, where she was his academic adviser throughout his entire time in grad school. Will found her to be a brilliant economist whose insights into sources of additional information and data while he was writing his doctoral thesis to be invaluable. He successfully defended his thesis on the coming economic crash, how to prevent it, and how to ease its effects, had it published, and received his PhD in Economics from Yale in May, 2007.
At the reception following his defense of his thesis, Dr. Rener asked Will to stop by her office for a few minutes before he left for the day. When he arrived there, she ushered him into her office and closed the door behind them.
She reached out and shook his hand and said, "Congratulations Dr. Forscher. How does it feel to have reached your goal?"
Will smiled, shook his adviser's hand and replied, "Dr. Rener,"
She interrupted him and said, "Please call me Janice." She smiled and added, "After all we are now both doctors."
Will smiled back and continued, "Okay Janice. Boy that sounds strange!" He laughed and replied to her original question, "I feel a sense of accomplishment and relief that it's over. I have a number of job offers to consider, but I think I'm going to take off for the summer to decompress. I haven't had a summer off since between my junior and senior years of high school, so I feel I could use the break."
Janice laughed with him and said, "I can imagine you could use a break. Do any of the job offers look interesting?"
"I haven't looked at any of them closely because I've been so focused on my thesis. I figure I'll do that over the summer and decide after that."
"What kinds of places have contacted you?"
"A couple of Wall Street firms, but with what I see happening, I don't think that would be a good idea. I have several offers to teach, several to work with think tanks, and a couple with cable news and business channels."
Janice looked at Will for a moment, smiled and said, "What I'm going to tell you is confidential and needs to be kept quiet for a little while until I'm ready to make it public."
Will answered, "Sure. I have no problem keeping things confidential."
"I know," she answered. "That's why I'm taking you into my confidence on this." She paused for a moment and then plunged ahead. "I will be taking a year long sabbatical beginning in September. I have been asked by a number of people to consider running for the US Senate here in Connecticut." Will gasped when she told him that. She paused, took a breath and continued, "I have decided to run and I would like you to be the Issues Director for my campaign. I won't be able to pay you what you could make at some of these other places, but if we win, I would like to take you to Washington and have you work for me there."
Will was stunned. "What all will this entail?" They spent the next hour or so discussing what she envisioned him doing both in the campaign, as well as in Washington if she won the election.
Will took several weeks to evaluate the various job offers he had received, including the one from Janice. The smallest offer he received would have paid him twice what Janice could pay him, while one of the Wall Street firms offered him over ten times that. The smallest offer was from a think tank, and he felt he could be comfortable doing research and writing papers about economic policies for them.
Even though he could make a lot more money elsewhere, Will decided to work for his mentor. He knew her and they got along well together. She challenged him to think outside of the box to come up with ideas he never would have considered. Most importantly however, she gave him the opportunity to affect the development of economic and other policies which would have economic effects in what was sure to be a very difficult time.
Janice won her election and was sworn into office as the junior Senator from Connecticut in January, 2009. Will went to Washington with her, serving as her second ranking staff member behind only her chief of staff. He and his staff were responsible for researching and analyzing any issues and proposed legislation which would come before the Senate, as well as writing legislation which Janice would introduce or cosponsor. Will was busy but he was very happy because he loved what he was doing. He felt like he was making a difference and that he had some influence on how the country's economic policies were developed.
Janice quickly made an impression on her colleagues in the Senate. She fought hard against the big money interests, especially Wall Street and the banking industry. Her expose's of attempts by the banking industry to slip in amendments which would weaken consumer and taxpayer protections became famous. Several of her speeches condemning the greed of the big money interests and the potential effects on the middle and working classes went viral on the internet. Janice introduced legislation to raise taxes on the wealthy while cutting them for people earning less than $100,000. She introduced legislation to ease the burdens that student loans put on those who were graduating college. She cosponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage. She cosponsored legislation to repair and improve the infrastructure, which has been deteriorating nearly to the point of collapse for years. She supported the Affordable Care Act, as a step in the right direction, although she didn't feel it went far enough. She supported the stimulus which passed Congress, although she didn't feel that it was large enough to be as effective as it could have been.
Janice bitterly denounced the amendments which lobbyists were able to get tacked onto the banking reform bill as it wended its way through Congress. She withheld her support of the bill until some of the more outrageous amendments had been removed. She reluctantly supported the bill's final passage. She stated that she was going to "hold her nose" while she voted for it because the bill was a little better than the current situation without one, although that wasn't saying a whole lot. She pledged to introduce banking reform legislation which would have real teeth in it, not the milquetoast bill which became law.
A number of news stories came out stating that defeating Senator Janice Rener's reelection bid in 2014 was the top priority for the banking industry and most large corporations. Janice turned that to her advantage, mobilizing a massive grass roots campaign funded by small donors from around the country that raised nearly as much money as her opponent in response. In an election which saw Republicans take back the Senate and the House enlarged their unruly majority, Janice Rener won reelection in a landslide, winning 63% of the votes cast.
Due to her margin of victory in the midst of a nationwide Democratic electoral debacle, speculation began shortly after the elections that she would run for president. Janice REALLY did not want to run for president. She had been deeply involved with several presidential campaigns. She knew the kind of pressure that candidates and their families were subject to. She was also reelected to another term as the Senator from Connecticut, and she felt that she couldn't serve them the way she should if she were also running for president.
A grass roots draft Rener movement was started and grew rapidly. Many Democrats saw Janice as the best alternative to the candidate who had already been anointed by the media as the next president. Janice and many others in the party saw the "Anointed One" as being too close to Wall Street and felt that they would be too likely to do what was best for Wall Street, not Main Street. After several months of intense pressure and realizing that she probably had the best chance at stopping the juggernaut, Janice began talking to her friends, family and close advisers, including Will.
Will was totally up front with her, just as he always was. He laid out the pros and the cons of her running, then told her that he felt that she should run for president. Janice sat back in her chair and thought for a moment before she smiled at Will. "You had almost the exact same list of pros and cons that I had made. I need to talk with Jim and the kids this evening, then I'll make a final decision. If I decide to run, I would like you to come over to my campaign and be my National Issues Director, as well as writing some of my speeches. You and I think very much alike, so I would feel comfortable with you doing that for me."
"What all would be involved with being your Issues Director?"
"I think the first thing would be to write up our basic policies on the various issues, both foreign and domestic, we may be asked about in the course of the campaign. You already know most of those already, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. We'll discuss any of which you are not sure. Once that is done, you'll need to work on finding out what the issues are in the various parts of Iowa and New Hampshire first, then the other states and the regions where they are located as their primaries or caucuses near. Get some of our people in the various states to gather as much of that info together for you as you can, then you can put it together for me.
"We'll also need to have opposition research done as well. We'll need that not only on any Democratic candidates that may run, but on the top three or four Republican candidates as well. We need a bio on them as well as their stands on various issues, not just where they stand now, but where they may have stood in the past. We need to know who is financing their campaigns and what they might expect from that support if their person won."
The next morning, Janice walked into her office, smiled at Will and asked him to join her in her office. She closed the door and asked, "How soon would you be able to move to my campaign headquarters? After talking with Jim and the kids, I've decided to run for president. God help us all!"
By the end of the month, Will had managed to complete all of the projects upon which he was working, had brought his number two up to speed so she could take over his job, and was ready to start his new job with Janice's presidential campaign.
Months later, he found himself in Des Moines, Iowa, site of the first caucuses of the 2016 presidential campaign, which would be held in just two days.
While he was waiting for the coffee to brew, he looked out the window at the heavy snow falling so hard that he could barely see the Iowa State Capitol Building a few short blocks away from the campaign's state headquarters where he was working. He wondered how the weather would affect the turnout for the caucuses, which would be held in just two more days.
The door to the inner office opened, and Betsy Vocero, the senator's campaign press secretary walked out and gave Will a big smile as he walked to the coffee pot. He smiled back at her and asked, "Would you like some coffee? I just made some as what was left could have put hair on your toe nails."
Betsy laughed and replied with her soft southern drawl, "With all of this snow and cold weather, that might not be such a bad thing."
With a sad look on his face, Will said, "Sorry, but I poured it down the drain. The good news though is that we can cancel that call to the plumber to come clear out that clog we had."
She giggled and reached over and touched Will's arm as she emphasized her accent, "Well Suh, since there is no hope that my toe nails nor my feet will be warm, maybe there is a nice gentleman around who might be able to warm me up in this cold, cold weather."
Will was taken aback for a moment by Betsy's forwardness before he smiled, bowed to her and answered, "My dear sweet lady, it would be my honor to do as much as I possibly can to help ease whatever discomfort you may be suffering from this bitterly cold weather."
Betsy touched his arm again, gazed up into his eyes, smiled and softly said, "I'd like that Will. I'd like that very much. But we'll have to discuss that a little later as I need to bring the coffee and some pastries into the meeting."
"Would you like to join me for dinner tonight?"
She smiled and replied, "I'd like that, but let me make sure that Janice doesn't need me for anything first before I give you an answer."
"I should make sure she doesn't need me either," he added as he picked up the coffee pot and some cups while she gathered the cream, sugar, napkins and the pastries and put them onto a tray. "Here, let me help you carry that in."
"Thank you, Suh," she responded using her Southern belle voice, "you are truly a gentleman."
The two of them walked into the office where they saw Senator Janice Rener sitting at a conference table with Jerry Gerente her campaign manager, Michael Merer the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, and Walter Vezeto the person in charge of her field operations in Iowa. The senator looked up and saw Will helping Betsy, smiled at him and asked, "How are things going?"
"Fairly well," he replied. "I just finished writing the speech for Monday night, with different versions depending upon how we do. It will only take a minute to have the right one ready for you. We can go over it whenever you're ready. I've gotten pretty much all of the info together we'll need for New Hampshire and for the New York primary the week after that. I still have some work to do for the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and the Utah primary, which are the same day as the New York primary. I also have a bunch of stuff to do for the Nevada caucus, which is the Saturday after New York and the others."
In the seven years that she had represented Connecticut in the US Senate, Janice Rener had become known as the "Conscience of the Senate". She absolutely refused to compromise her principles for political expediency and had gained a wide range of steadfastly loyal supporters among the base of the Democratic party. Very much a progressive and a populist, her battles against the moneyed interests and on behalf of ordinary people were already legendary. She knew that the privileged few who controlled so much of the country's wealth hated and feared her, and she reveled in that, fighting harder and harder on behalf of the middle class and the poor.
Janice looked at Will, smiled and asked, "Will, could you join us? We were originally going to a couple of meetings this evening, but with this storm, I don't want people trying to travel to see me. We've decided to have an internet town hall kind of meeting where people can email their questions to us and we'll answer them through our video link from our website. Although I'm familiar with the issues, I'd like your help with briefing me just to make sure I'm completely prepared with everything I need to know for tonight."
Will replied, "Sure, I'll be glad to help. Let me get my Iowa file and then I'll be ready to begin."
While Will was getting the file, Betsy put together a press release and an email. She sent the release to her list of press contacts and the emails to their Iowa mailing list informing everyone of the change in plans due to the storm. Will had returned with the file by the time she had finished sending the messages, so he updated the web page to reflect the changes in the schedule and their video town hall to be held instead of the previously scheduled personal appearances because of the storm.
They reviewed their various position papers for the next several hours, by which point everyone needed a break. Janice suggested that they call to see if the pizzeria next door was open. It was, but they were going to be closing early because of the weather. There were still other people working in the headquarters, so Janice ordered a dozen pizzas to make sure there would be enough for everyone there. They had plenty of soft drinks already so they didn't need to order those.
While they waited for the pizzas, Will and Janice quickly went over the speech he had written. She suggested one minor revision and had him add two additional names to the list of those to be thanked. He made those changes and the pizzas arrived about two minutes later.
Betsy joined him in line behind Janice, and after they had gotten their slices of pizza, Betsy led them to a quiet corner of the office. They placed their paper plates and sodas on the small table there, grabbed two seats, sat down and began eating. They each took a bite and nearly burned their mouths on the hot cheese, so they put their slices down to allow them to cool.
Although Betsy had been with the campaign for several months, she hadn't had a chance to sit down and talk with him, nor did she know much about him. "I've only known Janice for a few months, but I'm really impressed with her. She has such a wide range of subjects of which she has knowledge that it's incredible. Plus, she's just a nice person. She's so down to earth, which is something you don't often see with senators or academics." Will started laughing. "What's so funny?"
"I liked your senators or academics line. I think almost everyone who has had the chance to meet her and gets to know her says almost the exact same thing that you did. She is probably the most intelligent person I've ever met and I've met some pretty bright people in my life. She was my academic adviser during grad school and she became my mentor there."
"How did you get involved with her campaign?"
Will filled her in on that then asked, "So, how did you get involved in Janice's campaign?"
Betsy blushed as she admitted, "I've always been a political junkie. I was watching C-Span one evening and I saw her give a speech about the banking system and how we need to revive the Glass-Steagall Act and break up the banks so they are no longer too big to fail. The more I heard her, the more impressed with her I became. At the time, I was working at a job I loved for a really good company that almost survived the Great Recession, but couldn't quite make it." Her eyes got a little moist as she added, "My last day there was sending out a press release and answering reporters' questions about the bankruptcy and how many people were losing their jobs."
Will stood up and held out his arms slightly and Betsy quickly moved into them. He gave her a quick hug and let her go, while she held on a moment longer before she released him. She smiled at Will and said, "Thank you. That hug really helped."
"No problem," he replied with a smile. "I'm a firm believer in the therapeutic and recuperative powers of hugs."
Betsy thought about that for a moment before she answered him. "After that hug, I think I am now a firm believer in that too."
Janice walked over a moment later and looked at Will and Betsy. She quietly asked, "Is everything ok?"
Betsy smiled and responded, "Yes. I was telling Will about my old job before this one and how they went under. I got a little emotional and he taught me a valuable lesson about the recuperative and therapeutic powers of hugs."
Janice laughed. "I know exactly what you mean. He does give good hugs and I know I always feel a lot better after receiving one."
The three of them sat around for a little while telling the others about themselves, their families and friends, experiences, and basically getting to know one another. All too soon they had to get ready for Janice's web cast.
Everything went smoothly. There were no technical glitches. Janice didn't flub any questions, even though several people tried to throw her a curve with some of them. She also stayed on her message the entire time as well. Everyone was thoroughly satisfied with the way everything went.
After locking the office, they all trudged the block and a half back to their hotel through nearly two feet of snow. Luckily, it appeared as if the forecasters were correct and that the storm was coming to an end. It was a good thing that Will was surefooted and had good reflexes as he caught first Janice and then Betsy before they fell. They each took one of Will's arms and held onto him until they reached the hotel. Will asked them if they would like to stop for a drink. Betsy accepted but Janice replied that she needed to call her husband to see how he was doing.
They walked Janice to her room to ensure that she made it there safely. After Janice closed the door to her room, Will and Betsy walked to her room, then his, stopping for a moment to take off their coats and change from their boots to more comfortable footwear with Betsy putting her pocketbook away after taking some money, her room key and her ID from it. Just as they were about to leave Will's room for the lounge, Betsy stepped up to Will, smiled and said, "I could use another one of your hugs."
Will smiled back and her, wrapped his arms around her and relied, "Anytime."
Betsy sighed and said, "You shouldn't have said that because I'm definitely going to take you up on that."
Will looked into her sparkling eyes, noticed her licking her lips, then leaned down and gave her a soft kiss. He then quietly said, "For some reason, I don't think I'm going to mind that at all." He then gave her another quick kiss, released her and said, "Let's go to the lounge and see if they have any dancing there."
She smiled and replied, "Sounds good to me."
The two of them held hands as they walked to the lounge. Although the place wasn't packed, they were surprised at how many people were there. Luckily it wasn't overwhelmingly loud, so they would be able to hear each other when they spoke. They found a table toward the back of the room and walked to it. Will held Betsy's chair as she sat, then he sat opposite her. They sat holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes and quietly talking when the waitress walked up to their table.
She smiled at them and said, "We usually have live entertainment here on Saturday nights, but the band couldn't make it here because of the storm. We do have a very good internet jukebox so you can still play almost anything you would like."
Will commented, "I'm surprised there are this many people here given how bad it is outside."
"A lot of them are either guests here at the hotel or they live close by so they can walk home from here." She paused for a moment. "The kitchen will be closing in about ten minutes, so if you would like to order something to eat, you'll need to do that now."
They each ordered a margarita and decided to order an appetizer sampler platter so they'd have something on which to munch. While they waited for their drinks, Will took Betsy's hand and said, "Let's go over and check out the jukebox. I have a couple of songs in mind to play and thought you might as well."
Will put in some money and typed the names and artists for the songs he had in mind. The first song he chose was "Like to Get to Know You" by Spanky and Our Gang, followed by "World in Changes" by Dave Mason,"I've Been Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner, and "Blue Sky"by the Allman Brothers. [Author's note: All of these songs are available on Youtube if you're interested in checking them out.] He then turned to Betsy and told her that the rest of the songs were her choice. She typed in a half dozen songs and they returned to their table where the waitress had just arrived with their drinks.
They sipped their drinks and talked quietly, continuing to get to know one another. A few minutes later, the waitress returned with their appetizer tray along with plates and silverware for them. They proceeded to sample and enjoy their snacks while continuing their discussion. Shortly after they had finished eating, the first of Will's songs came up on the jukebox. He asked her to dance, then took her hand and led her to the dance floor after she accepted his offer.
Being the gentleman that he is, Will tried to reach for Betsy's right hand with his left so they could get into the formal dance position. Betsy however, was having none of that as she wrapped her arms around him, moving very close to him as he moved his arms around her. She sighed and pressed her breasts against his chest as they began to move together in time to the music. She leaned her head on his shoulder and squeezed him before she whispered, "It feels really good to have you holding me in your arms."
He looked down at her and smiled. "It feels really nice to be holding you in my arms and to have you holding me as well."
She lightly nibbled on Will's earlobe, causing goosebumps to break out all over his body. Betsy then whispered, "This is a great song! I haven't heard it in a long time, and it's just perfect for where we are right now."
Will smiled and replied, "I think you'll like the next couple of songs too then."
Betsy leaned her head back, pushing her pelvis against his groin, asked, "What other songs did you play?"
He grinned as he brought his hands down to her lower back and teased, "You'll see."
She stuck her tongue out at him and asked, "Are they fast or slow songs?"