BY CHRIS STEELE
Students from the Wadsworth Bruin, Lordstown High School and Newbury High School participated in volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign this weekend. The satellite office we were volunteering at was located in West De Moines, Iowa. From the minute we walked in, we were greeted with energetic warm welcomes from members of the campaign.
We first met with Kate Mcguire, the office head of volunteers for the Sanders Campaign. She gave our group a quick overview of what we’d be doing when we are canvassing the neighborhood and how we should attract people to get out and caucus for Sanders.
“A key part of our campaign is how we can relate to how the government has done us wrong in the past,” said Mcguire. “Once we figure out what matters to them, we can show them how Bernie is going to aid them in that aspect by giving them his plans for improvement.”
From there, we went on to do a rather quick exercise where the group was split into two groups of ten people where we went on to talk about which issues mattered the most and why.
“The exercise got really deep and personal the more we talked about things that had really hurt us in the past,” said Micah Beck, 11. “People talked about having Cancer and people in their family struggling financially. It really opened my eyes to how much policies on college tuition and health care impact us.”
After the exercise ended, we had a field of leader of the Sanders campaign Rose Asaf speak to us about Sanders’ political platform and how important our roles are in our democracy.
“We at the Sanders campaign are imminent about supporting our youth,” said Asaf. “We think it is important that you guys have a voice through our policies. We want you guys to be great leaders and create a better democracy.”
The two groups then split up as one group stayed inside to cold call people to get them to come out and caucus on Monday at 6:30, and the other group went out into the community to knock on doors of people who had previously shown interest in the Sanders campaign.
“I was kind of nervous to make calls at first,” said Brianna Becerra. “After a few, I got the hang of it. Nobody picked up, but I was able to leave a message to remind them to caucus on Monday.”
What we thought would be relatively easy job of getting people to come out and caucus, turned out to be a rather difficult task.
“It was a unique experience to go around and campaign door to door,” said Brian Coote. “I just wish we could actually talk to people and not be ignored or threatened with the cops”.
Once the madness of door knocking concluded, the group who went out to the neighborhood returned back to the campaign office. The group who were cold calling had left about an hour before the return to go to the Elizabeth Warren rally. While the remaining students were sitting around waiting to be picked up by the bus, a group of about 70 people from Kansas City, Kansas rushed through the office doors looking to help the Sanders campaign.
“The thing I love most about Bernie is that his campaign is all about helping someone you don’t know,” said Hayden Clements, a senior at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland, Kansas, who’s a big fan of Sanders. “I knew that when I first heard I had the chance to come and help his campaign and go to the rally to hear him speak, I had to go.”
As we were sitting in the back of the office watching this group of people come in, we got to meet and talk with Mary Reese, a volunteer at the Sanders campaign. She originally did not want to be a volunteer for the campaign
“I’m 73 years old and 3 months ago I was asked by the Bernie campaign to help and at first I told them I didn’t have time but I’m retired, of course I have time. I just didn’t really want to do it,” Reese said. “Once they said I would be a captain for the caucus, I was willing to help. They have had me do multiple different things and it has been really fun to this point and I’m glad I changed my mind.”
The students will be returning to volunteer at the campaign on Monday, the day of the Iowa Caucus.