On the morning after Vermont’s primary, a big night for Obama as predicted, I wrote a long diary trying to make clear why I thought the Senator had done so well in the Green Mountain State. Half of that diary revolved around the abilities and highly productive obsessions of a friend of mine named Neil Jensen, who took the time to really understand the software powering the Obama campaign and who then helped make local history with it. — PB
Parade of Delegates: Jensen Edition
Name: Neil Jensen
Hello Obama Delegates!
Over the past 17 months — aside from family and work — I’ve had little time or energy for anything other than helping Barack Obama become the Democratic nominee and the 44th President of the United States.
It has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And I am deeply proud to have had the opportunity to assist the Obama campaign in any way that I could.
I would be deeply honored if you would consider casting your vote for me to represent Vermont as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Throughout the last year and a half, I’ve tried to keep focused on the central idea of the Obama campaign — that there is far more that unites us than divides us.
And to this end, I’ve worked to try to break down barriers, actively attempting to bring together young and old, on-line and off-line organizing, top-down Chicago HQ and state-based bottom-up structures, field volunteers and fundraisers, the politically connected and the newly energized.
Some of you may already be familiar with aspects of the work that I’ve been involved with. But, I’d like to try your patience just a bit if I could, to help demonstrate why I believe I played an important role in building and maintaining the citizen-based Obama campaign in Vermont.
* In late 2006, I was one of the lead Vermont participants in the national Draft Obama movement, organized the first Obama supporters meeting in December, and launched http://vermontersforobama.org. I designed the Vermonters For Obama logo, now on many T-shirts throughout the state. And, much to my amazement, a modified version of the logo — along with the Vermonters For Obama web address — appeared on the side of Ben & Jerry’s vans (see below).
* On February 10, 2007 — the day the Obama campaign officially launched — I created the Vermonters For Obama group (540+ members) on BarackObama.com, which along with the companion website mentioned above has served as a central clearing house for Vermont’s Obama volunteer community.
* For the majority of 2007, I took the lead in organizing monthly Burlington area meetings, highlighted by the widely covered endorsement event at Club Metronome on September 12th, 2007, featuring Bill Sorrell, Jeb Spaulding, and Peter Clavelle.
* I’ve fielded questions from the local press, assisted with press releases, and exchanged thousands of emails and phone calls with supporters and Obama campaign staff to ensure that useful information got to the people that needed it. I spent five days volunteering on the ground in January for the New Hampshire primary — and led the canvassing effort in Bristol for Vermont’s March 4th primary.
* In February, I had the privilege of representing Obama supporters in an online debate with Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin, hosted by Vermont Public Television.
* I’m a member of the Obama campaign’s Grassroots Fundraising Committee Leadership Circle having helped channel over $3,600 through the Vermonters For Obama group fundraising page.
* I’ve continued to try to facilitate democratic communication among Obama supporters by helping to promote Damian Sedney’s amazing work in hosting the delegate candidate forums — and providing delegate candidates the opportunity to post candidate statements at: http://vermontersforobama.org/delegates
* In addition to my work here in Vermont, I’m an active organizer in the BarackObama.com online community — creating and moderating three of the longest-running and most active groups, Obama Rapid Response (920+ members), Citizen Strategy Think Tank (560+ members) and Website Feedback (280+ members). All three have helped build community and communication among supporters and the Obama HQ Web Team.
And I’ve worked with online activists from across the country since 2006 to help ensure that Barack’s message was heard as widely and clearly as possible, including assisting with the creation and editing of One Million Strong, a nationally-focused Obama supporter website.
OK, well, there you have it. There’s probably not much more I should add except to say that I’d really, really love to go to Denver.
It would be an experience of a lifetime for me — after such a long journey — to be in that convention hall, representing Vermont and the ideals of this historic campaign, and to hear Barack Obama accept the nomination on August 28th, 2008, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for taking the time to allow me the opportunity to make my case.
However, there are certainly many other dedicated people who’ve put in days, weeks, and months and months of hard work for Barack Obama. And we Vermonters should be proud to have so many deserving candidates to choose from.
See you all on Saturday!