Emma Newman, cub writer
Having strong beliefs.
That’s what Joanie Garratt is the most proud of. It isn’t her degree from Harvard. It isn’t the 26 years that she has worked for the district as a teacher. It isn’t the six awards she has won throughout her time teaching in Beverly Hills. It’s her beliefs.
“I stand by my beliefs,” Garratt said. “I stand up for what I believe in because that makes me feel that I’m making a difference and that I’m not just speaking, but I’m actually acting.”
Garratt, who identifies as an independent, stood by what she believed in by working on the 2018 campaign of a California congresswoman from the 25th District, Katie Hill.
“I wanted to make a difference in the campaign and in order to do that, I went to a district that we could flip to make from red to blue… so we could get an extra democratic voice in the Congress,” Garratt said.
Garratt did not join the campaign simply to get a democrat on the floor of the Congress. She also joined the campaign because she shares many beliefs with Hill.
“I believe in expanded health care for people that cannot afford it,” Garratt said. “I don’t think that people should lose their life savings or die because they can’t afford healthcare. That’s the change that I like to see.”
Katie Hill also focuses on making healthcare affordable to the masses. According to Katie Hill’s website, the congresswoman has worked to “reduce… the penalty for late enrollment in Part B of Medicare”.
Garratt worked on the campaign over a span of six months. On weekends, she would canvass for the campaign six to eight hours a day.
While on the campaign, Garratt had many positive experiences.
“A really good experience was the camaraderie that I made with the people that I worked with,” Garratt said.
Among the most memorable experiences for Garratt was being able celebrate with other individuals who had also worked on the Katie Hill campaign on election night.
“[On] the night of the election, we went to a big party,” Garratt said. “We didn’t know if she won… All of the congressmen were there and all of the people that I worked with. It was a wonderful feeling.”
However, at times, the campaign was not enjoyable for Garratt.
“Some parts were really tough,” Garratt said. “ Sometimes people could be very rude. I’ve had doors slammed in my face. I had a woman almost spray me with her hose.”
Garratt’s worst memory on the campaign involved a Republican man who stalked and insulted her.
“I had to call the police,” Garratt said. “He followed me to the next house. The person let me in and [the Republican man] said he was going to wait for me outside because he hated democratic liberals.”
Fortunately, after two hours, the police arrived and escorted Garratt away from the man.
Garratt participates in politics despite the difficulties of being on a campaign for such a large amount of time. This is because she wants to make a difference in the country.
“I’d like to see a kinder, gentler America,” Garratt said. “I don’t like what’s happening. I don’t like people in power…vilifying and bullying other people.”
In addition, participating in campaigns has brought Garratt a tremendous amount of pride.
“I’m very proud of [my work] because I felt that I was a big part of that change that took place,” Garratt said. “I want my country to be stable and respectful.”
Because of these reasons, Garratt plans on participating in the campaign when Hill runs again in 2020.
“Katie Hill called me. She called me after the campaign to personally thank me… She said, ‘I hope I can count on you in 2020,’” Garratt said. “I said, ‘Katie, I’m just getting warmed up.’ So I will be doing whatever it takes in 2020.”