Volunteer exudes energy for politics

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Penny Skaage takes her volunteer ethic for the Democratic party by doing the thing she loves most – getting out and knocking on doors. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I prefer door knocking because I’m really fast at it,” said Skaage, who volunteers with the local DFL.

During the most recent election, Skaage received a phone call from Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, asking why he had seen her running from house to house while she was volunteering for the DFL near Ellis Middle School.

“I had been door knocking,” she said. “I have a lot of energy.”

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Not only does door knocking offer an outlet for her energy, but Skaage said she enjoys the conversations she has with the people she encounters.

“I actually get to go out and meet the people that are concerned about our area,” she said. “They can tell me, and not be afraid to tell me, what they’re concerned about.”

Skaage has been volunteering with local DFL groups since 2004, when she first began working on Rep. Jeanne Poppe’s campaign.

However, Skaage took an interest in politics long before 2004. She began voting in each election when she turned 18, and she grew up in a home in which everyone worked for a union or similar organization.

“We grew up in a very liberal way of thinking,” she said.

Two of Skaage’s greatest concerns in government are education and Social Security. Self-described as having been an “average kid,” she wishes young adults who do average in school could have more involvement with guidance counselors before graduating high school.

“We can do way more at the preschool and elementary level than we are doing,” she said. “I wish guidance counselors took a more active role. I could have used more guidance in choosing a career and setting goals.”

As she continues to fight for improved education and affordable Social Security, Skaage said she plans to continue running — not walking — from door to door at election time.

“I’m selling the finished product, which is the politician,” she said. “But for the details of the ‘car,’ you’ll have to contact the manufacturer.”