Against that challenging backdrop, [JOE SOLMONESE] plans to crisscross the country and make public appearances with local businesspeople, representatives of the gay and minority communities, labor officials, and religious leaders. "We need to have a serious and meaningful conversation within communities of faith," Solmonese said.
While attending Boston University in the mid-1980s, Solmonese spent a couple of summers as an intern in the scheduling office of then-Governor [Michael S. Dukakis]. He joined the office full time after graduating from BU with a degree in communications in 1987. When it came time to move on, the governor invited Solmonese for lunch in his office, where Dukakis reiterated the importance of public service. The message stuck because Solmonese respected the messenger. "He is one of the most honest, decent people I know," Solmonese said. "There are legions of people in my generation who are still in politics because he didn't just inspire us to stay in public service, he directed us to stay in public service, that was all you were supposed to do."
At the suggestion of Mary Beth Cahill, who was then an aide to Dukakis, Solmonese went to work on [Barney Frank]'s 1990 congressional campaign. It was there that he learned the organizational nuts and bolts of a campaign: How to solidify a donor base ("I learned that fund-raising was a lot more message and strategy than cold-calling and strong-arming"), how to read trends in a poll, how to mobilize supporters and enlist new voters. After that, while maintaining an apartment in the South End, he "bounced from campaign to campaign" across the country as a strategist until 1993, when he went to help Dawn Clark Netsch, a candidate for governor in Illinois. Having seen what a lack of cash could do to a campaign, Solmonese was impressed by how well-funded Netsch was. The reason: Emily's List, a PAC that assists Democratic women candidates who favor abortion rights, had directed money her way.