Local Republicans hated the fact that a Level 85 Orc Rogue was running for state senate in Maine.Colleen Lachowicz, a social worker in Maine, heard her opponents were attacking her for playing “World of Warcraft,” (WoW) and at first she payed no mind.
“I thought it was a joke,” the Democrat said in a phone interview.
Supporters of the Republican party created a website, “Colleen’s World,” and Twitter feed, “ColleensWorld2,” featuring some of the comments Lachowicz posted as her alter ego Santiaga, who is green with a purple mohawk. Some of the comments were about wanting to play games instead of working, one mentioned wanting to drown Grover Norquist, many were about stabbing, one of the character’s hobbies.
“So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things…a lot. Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!” Lachowicz on the liberal blog Daily Kos in 2009.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub,” she wrote another time. It was comments like that, which reporters said were being called into question. Not her gaming itself.
The comments were taken out of context, Lachowicz said. She’s sure people’s Internet goofs are going to come up again and again in politics now, but thinks we should take what people do in the virtual world “with a healthy grain of salt.”
“We need to have a healthy perspective about all this,” she said.
Lachowicz has played World Of Warcraft for four years and reached level 85 out of a possible 90–she hasn’t had a chance to level Santiaga because she hasn’t had time to play for a while. As her rivals were busy creating the website and managing a Twitter feed, she kept going to work and campaigning.
“I think what got lost in the whole thing was talking to people in my district,” Lachowicz said. “What do we need to change? How can we help?”
The attention may have helped more than it hurt: the story was picked up by media across the country, prompting e-mails and Facebook posts of support from far away, and giving her an 8,666 to 7,753 victory over incumbent Thomas H. Martin Jr. For his part, Martin denied having anything to do with the attacks page.
When she takes office on December 5, she’s going to use her 25 years experience as a social worker to try to provide her constituents with what they need, like jobs and affordable health care, and the skills she’s learned as a gamer to cooperated with others and get things done.
Maybe if things calm she can devote more attention to Santiaga.
“I’m not going to apologise,” she said of her hobby, “because no one really cares.”
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