VOLUME 19 #3

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DEPARTMENTS

Jim Soles changed my life

Alumni and others whose lives were touched share their memories and thoughts.

Mimi Boudart, AS73

I met Jim Soles in the spring semester of 1970 in his "Introduction to American Political Systems." I already had a great interest in politics, but he made it come alive. It was a thrilling time to study American politics because we were in the midst of the student opposition to the Vietnam War. The University went on strike that spring after the shootings at Kent State University. I don’t think Prof. Soles made us take a final examination. He just used the average of our earlier test scores. When he announced that he was offering a new course in the fall that would offer students the chance to work on political campaigns, I jumped at the opportunity. The class was called "Practical Politics." In the class I met Kevin Freel who was organizing the students to work for John Daniello in his bid for Delaware’s only congressional seat. His opponent was Pete DuPont. Daniello was against the war, DuPont was in favor of it, so most of the students wanted to work for Daniello. I also worked on the campaign of my local state representative candidate. Joan Wright. I had the chance to learn the nitty gritty of campaigns such as phone banks, lit drops, working the polls on election day, going to meetings with the candidate herself. It really ignited my interest in running for political office. I ran for state representative in 1978 at the age of 28. I lost by 230 votes to the incumbent. I ran again for office in 1982 for a seat on New Castle County Council and won.

I trace my interest in grassroots politics to taking that class with Jim Soles. He was also a great mentor. His office door was always open to students seeking advice on anything. He encouraged me to go to law school and wrote those crucial letters of recommendation. We remained in contact over the years. I loved seeing Jim and Ada Leigh at politic events and catching up with them. Jim’s take on current events locally and nationally was always on target. Jim was the most important teacher that I had in my life. I had many wonderful teachers from elementary school through law school, but I valued Jim’s teaching and advice the most.

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