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Martin Sheen on the Campaign Trail

Contributed by Bret N. Bicoy, President & CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation

Although I am sure he would never remember me, I had the chance to sit and chat with Martin Sheen for half an hour and found him to be a very thoughtful man.

During the 2000 campaign season, I was campaign manager for Dave Hansen, a candidate for the State Senate seat from northeastern Wisconsin.  Martin Sheen was on a cross-country tour a few weeks before the November election. He was travelling with Dule Hill, Rob Reiner, and one or two other celebrities whose names escape me.

I was working on an event at the coordinated campaign headquarters for all local Democrats, and we were waiting for additional television cameras, so we had what you almost never have in politics -- a few minutes to kill.

The office suite of my State Senate candidate was used as the waiting room because it had direct access to the area we were using for the rally. And, since my candidate was running neck and neck with the incumbent, he was selected to introduce the celebrities.

Northeast Wisconsin Democrats are nowhere near as liberal as California liberals (sometimes to my dismay). In my conversation with Martin, we talked about the differences and he was quite sensitive to how his comments would play. When he finally did speak, he was absolutely true to his ideals, but he focused on issues that played well in our community. Smart man.

I have no idea about his formal education, but I know many politicians with lots of letters after their names who aren't anywhere near as thoughtful as Martin Sheen. I was quite impressed with him.

Incidentally, my candidate did win the State Senate race by ousting a two term incumbent -- by a scant margin of 1.1 percentage points. It was a great experience and it provided with me an opportunity to meet a remarkable man.

And best of all, I have a great picture of Martin Sheen with my kids!