#FiredUp and #ReadyForJoe!

No one is coming to save our country — it’s up to us — together.

Rusty D. Pickens
4 min readApr 22, 2020

Dear friends, family, and colleagues,

All of you know me as someone who values public service and believes that government can be a positive impact in people’s live if that government is in the hands of people who share these values. I will testify that we did our dead-level best to deliver that kind of government over the eight years we had the privilege of serving under President Obama. Those times were tough and that work was hard, but it is nothing compared to what we have to do now.

I captured this photo the day after the election in 2016 — let’s not repeat that.

The damage done by the Trump cartel to our public institutions and our standing as a country around the world will have dire consequences for decades if we don’t put and end to it and restore honest and accountable leadership back to our government. Each day I’ve watched the news (or avoided the news) for the last four years I’ve relived the hurt and disappointment and frustration of losing a presidential election by a razor-thin 70,000 votes in three key states. Every day I’ve second guessed that, “What if I had knocked on a few more doors?” “What if I had pestered more friends to join me for GOTV in Philly?” “What if…

“What if we’d all just done a little bit more?

Well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson like I have from four years ago. We have much to do. Politics isn’t distant, it’s local — and it’s powered by people. The people we put in charge matter. The communities we’re part of and organize for need us more than ever. For example: In February 2019 I was heartbroken to hear directly from students attending our Out in STEM Leadership Development Program in Detroit. They were upset because their undocumented classmates were seeing their families broken up; they were scared for their safety on their campuses due to gun violence; they were worried they wouldn’t be able to serve in the Armed Services; and worst of all, they were unsure if they had a future in this country where they could bring their whole selves to the professional world as LGBTQ+ Americans when they graduated. There wasn’t much more I could do other than offer solidarity, support, and advocacy at the time — but we have another chance to do a lot more for them now.

So that’s why I’m trying something new: fundraising for a candidate. You all know that much of the #44 family has been waiting until the primary field settled and could unify our energy behind a single candidate. Well, that time is now — and Vice President Biden is our guy.

He’s a man of deep character, and I was always impressed by the quality and professionalism of the staff he surrounded himself with when I served alongside them at the White House. There was a moment after his son died in 2015 when you could feel the Eisenhower Building and the West Wing pause for a breath while he contemplated running. I regret so much how things turned out with Secretary Clinton, but one small bright spot among of all this is that we now have the responsibility to have Joe’s back.

The character of our public servants matters. I believe that so much I wrote this long form piece about it and gave eight years of my life working toward it. Now I need you to join us supporting folks who feel the same. The Obama Alumni Network is hosting a virtual fundraiser on May 1st with some 100+ alums and friends who are determined to see Joe Biden become the 46th President and restore some dignity to the office. That is our one and only job as Democrats (and estranged Republicans and wayward Independents) between now and November 3rd. There is no other option — the only question is how deeply you’re willing to work for it.

So please come along for the ride with me. First, we need you to donate — we will be facing down untold amounts of dark Super-PAC dollars (and Rubles) and a bag of dirty tricks unlike we’ve ever seen. Get ready — because it’s coming. Joe’s team needs the resources to fight the lies on the airwaves and online. For May 1, we’ll have an impressive list of special guests and chart the way forward to November. Secure your spot by giving $250 here. And not only does your donation get you an invite to the event, it also really helps me out as I venture into the fundraising world as just one more way to get this man elected.

And finally, I will personally be helping lead another team for about a week of Get Out the Vote efforts (hopefully back to Pennsylvania) to knock on doors until our knuckles are bloody to make sure every last damn voter in the state casts a ballot for Joe Biden. We will leave nothing on the field this time. So stay tuned, stay in touch, and let’s go do this — TOGETHER. #StillFiredUp #ReadyForJoe

Join Us,

Rusty D. Pickens



Rusty D. Pickens

#Geek using my powers of technology for better government. Founder of @580Strategies - Former @ObamaWhiteHouse and @StateDept