May 23rd, 2008

The Saturday Convention Looms, But the Parade of Delegates Continues: Speerstra and Gaffney Edition

by Philip Baruth

Parade of Delegates: Speerstra and Gaffney Edition
Karen Speerstra

I would love to think of myself as the ” Obama Girl,” but alas, I’m more of a Hillary demographic. And “Grandmas for Obama” just doesn’t have the same pizzazz. But I’m running to support Obama in Denver because I know how torn and hurting women are right now. As a writer and fighter for women’s rights since the 70’s, I’ve been longing for a woman in the Oval Office. I wore a pin around Boston in 1992 that said: “Vote for Hillary’s Husband.”

Thanks to Hillary having come so close, a woman will be at that desk before too long.

But now, it is the time for Obama and a national coming together. It’s time for fresh young voices. Obama’s the articulate thinker we’ve been starved to hear. He’s the one the whole world is waiting for. I’ve been supporting Obama long before he announced.

Given the level of animosity (dare we say bitterness) right now, among Hillary’s supporters, I’m hoping to be a healing voice and a strong presence in Denver.

I’m an officer and delegate from Tunbridge (Orange County). That’s the Tunbridge Mill Bridge, photo by Dave MacKenzie, below. I’ve spent several decades in the book publishing world and am myself an author. Stop by my table — you might win one of the books — or the Blue Barry Obama Pie!

My husband John and I moved to central Vermont in time to be active participants in the Dean for President campaign. This fall, we’ll be tireless advocates for Gaye Symington for Governor and Louise Barreda for Orange-Windsor State Representative.

Pick up one of my “Bridge Cards” in Barre — and please help send me to Denver.

Parade of Delegates: Speerstra and Gaffney Edition
Michael Gaffney

Why a Young Democrat?

It’s critical that the Vermont delegation reflect one of the groups that has helped contribute to Senator Obama’s success. Young people need to see that our role in the campaign is one that was not taken for granted and our delegation should send the same message that Senator Obama has sent to young people all across America: young Americans have a role to play in politics, not just by knocking on doors, sending money, and attending rallies, but by actually casting the votes that will select our Party’s nominee in August.

Why this Young Dem?

Way back in September, I decided that I needed to do my part. I knew work needed to be done in the Green Mountain State, but I wanted to see if I could help out elsewhere too. I started by just interning at this political consulting firm in DC. After a few weeks, they hired me as a full-time staff member and I teamed up with other Obama supporters to help evaluate the political landscape and provide Democrats on the national and local levels with advice about how we can be sure that Democrats succeed in November.

So for the past eight months, and until the last votes are counted on Election Day, I’ll be working day and night to make sure we’ve got a Democrat (and if I have it my way, Barack Obama) in the White House.

I don’t get paid too much for the long hours, but it is all worth it. The only reason I wish I were making more would be so I could send a bigger check than the small contributions I’ve made to Obama’s campaign (a few friends of mine and I helped host a small fundraiser for Obama on the night of the Potomac Primary, when VA, DC, and MD all gave Obama huge victories!!).

Even when I’m not working long hours, I’ve spent time on the weekends knocking on doors in northern VA, doing visibility events (honk and waves!) in the neighborhood, and have helped make calls and handed out literature in Pennsylvania.

I’m lucky that when I go to work, I know that I’m helping get Democrats elected in November — it is really the only payment I need.
When I told my parents I wanted to push back graduation to get Barack Obama elected, they soon realized the importance of the moment. They grasped what you and I do — that this election is too important to sit on the sidelines and that we’ve found our candidate and we’ll stay up all night (and we’ll even push back our college graduation) to be sure that we finally bring change to Washington.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow and in the meantime, feel free to visit this site I threw together (nothing special, but I wanted to try to introduce myself a bit further):

I’ll be using the site to blog (not as well as Phil on VDB, but I’ll do my best). I was also on Charlie and Ernie’s radio show this morning and I made a pledge to do brief radio updates each day from Denver if I am so fortunate to represent Vermont there in a few months!