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Monique Dawson Isn’t Mad, But She Would Like a New Job

A video of her honest interaction while working as a canvasser for Gov. Greg Abbott's reelection campaign went viral. Then she lost her job. But Monique Dawson says she isn't mad at the homeowner who shared the video.
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Courtesy James Whitfield

Monique Dawson didn’t know that the homeowner who made her laugh had a Twitter following of almost 9,500 people.

“I’m volunteering for Greg Abbott, and we wanted to know if he could count on your support in the upcoming election?” she asked Dr. James Whitfield when he answered the door. (This is the same James Whitfield who resigned in 2021 from his job as principal at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD after being accused of planning to teach children critical race theory.)

There was a long pause, then Whitfield responded, “Absolutely not.”

Dawson let out a guffaw that was long and pure. 

“Everybody’s gotta have a job,” she said before leaving, eliciting chuckles from Whitfield.

Dawson didn’t know that Whitfield would share the video from his Ring doorbell. She didn’t even have a Twitter account until after she was informed that their exchange was now online. She didn’t even know it went viral for a while, either; it has since been viewed more than 3 million times. She says the Abbott campaign fired her soon after; the campaign disputes her employment.

“I didn’t know about it until I was told at work,” she said. 

“At first, I wasn’t sure they were going to fire me,” she said. “About five minutes later, they came back and said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to have to let you go.’”

Dawson has five kids, and the flexibility of working as a canvasser was ideal. She says she could take her breaks and lunches as she needed. She arranged her schedule to accommodate her family’s needs.

“If I was five minutes late, my boss wasn’t like, ‘You’re fired,’” she said. “If I needed to leave an hour early or come in an hour late one day, I could make it up the next day.”

“Now they’re saying I never worked for them,” Dawson said of the Abbott campaign. “No, these flyers they had us handing out say who we were working for.”

An Abbott campaign spokesperson denied that Dawson worked for the campaign when contacted by The Guardian. “This individual has never been employed by Texans for Greg Abbott or volunteered for the campaign,” the campaign said.

Dawson says she has the check stubs to prove it and says she was employed by Arizona Grassroots, which was contracted to do work for the Abbott campaign. D Magazine reviewed direct deposit information and text exchanges detailing her assignments on behalf of the Abbott campaign.

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Monique Dawson Courtesy Monique Dawson

“They tell us to say we’re volunteering,” Dawson said. “There’s a script we have to follow.”

Now she has sent in an application to work for the Texas Democratic party, after several of her new Twitter followers encouraged her to.

“I’ve sent in my information, so I’m hoping I get a job,” she said.

In the meantime, she has almost met the $30,000 goal (which was originally $15,000) for the Gofundme campaign she set up to help offset expenses. With kids home from school, she said, the summer is more expensive. 

“I’m cooking meals three times a day right now,” she said. 

Whitfield reached out to Dawson and has encouraged his Twitter followers to donate to her fundraiser. The Gofundme page indicates that he chipped in $200 toward his new friend’s expenses, too.

“Thank you all for helping take a warm moment, turned nightmare, into a beautiful outpouring of love,” he said later.

“Are you upset with Dr. Whitfield for sharing the video?” I asked Dawson Tuesday morning. 

“No, no, not at all,” she said. “It was just this…moment that most of the time never gets captured. I wish there had been a camera on his face, too, because he had this look of just pure amusement, which made me laugh. But it was just me, and it was just my honest reaction to what he said—I couldn’t hold that laugh in.”

Author

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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