Sunday, April 20, 2008

Further notes on Lancaster Day 2: focus on the campaign office

The Lancaster office is headed by Michelle Bensignor, a wonderful organizer and relatively recent graduate of the very fine University of Pennsylvania (where the Clintons will be hosting a Primary Eve rally). From the moment I volunteered to go to Lancaster, Michelle followed up with a polite, enthusiastic, and informative email. When I entered headquarters, the vibe was great. Michelle and her staffers were totally organized and welcoming. Lists of calls made and to be made were posted high on the walls; tables for canvassers, out-of-state volunteers, and other kinds of workers were clearly indicated. Even better, the first thing any of the folks manning the office offered was a drink or a snack - even a recommendation of where an out-of-towner could grab a quick lunch.

Every staffer I met was inspiring. One woman had come from Utah to spend two weeks working in the office. Her comment: "Well, there just aren't any Democrats in Utah."

Today, as I was turning in my canvassing sheets, the young woman in charge seemed fresh as could be. I told her I had encountered somebody who I thought would be a great caller on behalf of Hillary. This young woman said, "Well, I'm phoning her right now, to get her on board." Not an opportunity overlooked, not a beat missed. Reminds me of Senator Clinton herself.

A Virginian who had come into Lancaster to help with canvassing came back to tell Michelle and the others about an assisted care facility where canvassing wasn't possible but where people who wanted to vote for Senator Clinton lived. The office workers assured her that they would look into rides to the polls and other ways of reaching out.

When I asked if the office was getting much foot traffic, Michelle told me that just today - Sunday before the PA primary - an unexpected slew of people arrived from Baltimore, all there to canvass for Senator Clinton. Clearly that made her day. I hope another slew of folks turn up tomorrow!

Thank you, Michelle and company. You wowed me!

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