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Campaigning in the Time of COVID-19

By Judy Stahl, M.A., LMT

My first blog post during my campaign for the State House is being written while my fellow Arizonans, and all Americans, are navigating a worldwide pandemic, the novel coronavirus, for which there is currently no cure. Yesterday, we crossed the tragic landmark of losing more Americans in the last six weeks then we lost in all the years of the Vietnam war. Over 59,000 of our fellow Americans have died from Covid-19 since this pandemic started, including the mother of my dear partner, Steve. Unimaginable two months ago, this is the reality of our lives.

The #StahlForAll campaign strives to model behavior which we believe is in the best interests of all of our future constituents. As a campaign, we went into lockdown by the 12th of March. We canceled many exciting events that we had planned throughout LD1 in both Yavapai and Maricopa County, as did many others who had invited us to attend and speak at their events. These cancellations included fundraisers, picnics, house parties, meet and greets, town halls, and much more. We had to cancel our planned canvasses, knocking on doors to meet our neighbors, hear their concerns, and ask for their support. These events are the nuts and bolts of how campaigns raise awareness and money, win supporters, and gather the steam and momentum needed to win. Traditional campaigning methods have been turned on their head and ground to a stop. That we took this approach as a campaign right away is no cause for regret. We are still on lockdown. We are all in this together This campaign will move forward only in ways that protect the public health.

While I am intimately conscious of the economic challenges imposed by this worldwide pandemic, health comes before politics. Every. Single. Time. In my beloved profession of massage therapy, there is simply no way to practice physical distancing and provide massage therapy services. Massage Therapy, by definition, involves physical human touch. I and many of my friends and associates across the nation and around the world have had to shut down our businesses, with no end in sight. Massage therapy is not an essential healthcare modality during a worldwide pandemic. Having worked in hospitals, including a 1200-bed tertiary hospital where I cared for children with deadly diseases for many years, there are no workers who I admire more than front line healthcare workers. Anyone who knows me knows that nurses are my favorite people! However, along with millions of Americans, I look forward to the day when massage therapists can again SAFELY provide our healing hands to weary, traumatized, frightened, and grieving Americans.

When that day comes, there will be an audible sigh of relief from massage clients around the world. The nature of our work is such that, while it is not a front and center acute care modality, especially during the beginning stages of a worldwide pandemic, the need for human touch is, and will always be, essential. After this pandemic is under control, go back to your massage therapist. I trust, with the first few soothing strokes, you will receive the message, from the heart of your being, that everything is going to be all right.


“Along with millions of Americans, I look forward to the day when massage therapists can again SAFELY provide our healing hands to weary, traumatized, frightened, and grieving Americans.”

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