September 24, 2004

Our 8 California canvasses have lots of stories to tell.

Democratic stronghold California is the location of 8 GCI offices. All of the California offices have interesting stories to tell, but here are two highlights from San Diego and San Francisco…

The San Diego GCI office was made famous at the end of June 2004 when the office was highlighted in City Beat (“The Army at Your Doorstep”). Featured staff members included Isaac Goldstein, Michelle Howard, Tommy Jarvis, Dave Penndorph, and Lindsay Romack. One individual, Kevin McCormick, was followed on his first day of training, canvassing, and finally closing time. Kevin’s experiences before the Beat Bush campaign are unique. In 2003, he served on the USS Shiloh in the Persian Gulf while whole-heartedly supporting the Bush administration. How things have changed! Check out the article at: http://www.sdcitybeat.com/article.php?id=2209

The San Francisco office has a great team, and it’s not just GCI that thinks so! Stephanie Green of Palo Alto canvassed Woodside in mid-July. During the day, she met a long-time Republican who had already given up on President Bush because he has misled the country. However, he told Stephanie that he had not really thought about his change of heart in terms of “Beat Bush.” After being canvassed by Stephanie, he decided to take action and call the office. He said that Stephanie was "an unbelievable asset" for our organization, and he wanted to get advice on finding a volunteer organization for “Republicans against Bush.”

The 8 GCI offices in California have combined to contact three-quarters of a million people since the start of our campaign.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

PIRG New Voters Project

new voter award.jpgAt an awards ceremony during the Democratic National Convention, we recognized several organizations for their non-partisan efforts to increase voter participation. New Voter Project staff are pictured here receiving their award.

In 2004, the PIRG New Voters Project has staff in 20 states organizing to increase voter participation among 18-24 year old voters. With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, and in collaboration with George Washington University, the New Voters Project is focusing an intensive voter registration & GOTV program in six states, registering 265,000 young voters, building a professional grade voter file of young voters, and making 500,000 peer-to-peer GOTV contacts. The PIRG Community Voters Project is working in ten states to register 150,000 minority voters and turn them out to vote.

Fore more information on this important project, please visit www.newvotersproject.org.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

Noah Kunin directs GCI's street canvass operation in San Diego, CA.

Noah began his academic career far away from politics in the research lab. At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, he studied genetics and earned an internship at the National Science Foundation. The events of September 11, 2001, inspired Noah to rethink his course of study. He switched his major to Political Science and actively participated in several campaigns, including the re-election campaign for Senator Paul Wellstone.

In early 2004, Noah volunteered with GOTV efforts in South Dakota during the primaries. He became reenergized and looked for opportunities to continue working on the presidential campaign. Noah found GCI, which was enough to get him to postpone graduation. And, he moved to San Diego to direct our street canvassing operations.

Noah has so far enjoyed everything about directing the office, especially the process of building an efficient, effective team. The San Diego office, along with GCI's other offices in CA, have recruited over 100,000 donors for the DNC - a number that will keep growing until Election Day.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2004

Alex Eaton directs GCI's door-to-door operation in Washington, DC.

Alex grew up outside Chicago in Schaumburg, Illinois, but was adopted from South Korea at a very early age. Alex says, "I don't know what my life would have been in Korea, but I doubt it would have been like it has been here. I love the flag and what it stands for."

As a kid, Alex developed a healthy interest in sports. He played baseball, football, basketball, and any other game possible with his classmates and neighbors. Alex went to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and was able to combine his passions of patriotism and sports. He served as the Vice President of the Young Democrats and professes the greatest thing about his school was the football team.

After the 2000 election of George W. Bush, Alex felt disheartened, especially after his successful efforts on the Gore Campaign in Iowa. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Journalism in December 2001 and landed the job with ESPN. In less than two years, Alex worked on Baseball Tonight, College Game Day, and Sports Center. Alex won an Emmy for Best Studio Show for his work on Sports Center.

Even with all of this excitement, Alex's patriotic feelings were re-energized by the 2004 Democratic campaign. He left ESPN to join the GCI team in late March. The Iraq war was one of the major factors in his decision to dedicate himself to help change the direction of the country.

When Alex started as the Director of the Washington, DC, door-to-door operation, there were 7 canvassers. At its peak this summer, the DC office had 70 core door-to-door canvassers. Alex says, "being in charge of a GCI office is helping to influence the selection of the next president, and that's the best feeling in the world."

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Meet Alex Aixala, Chicago Canvass Director

Alex Aixala’s motivation to get involved in the campaign to defeat Bush started halfway around the world teaching English in Osaka, Japan, during the 2002 US march to war on Iraq. He was adamantly against the war, but he didn’t have a place to direct his objection. The only protests were occurring four hours away in Tokyo, and discussions were limited by the fact that the word “protest” doesn’t even exist in the Japanese vocabulary.

When Alex returned to the States, he implemented his ambitions to be the facilitator of change through theater and public education. He taught in the Chicago public school system and worked backstage on several theater productions, including the Pulitzer Prize winning play “Anna in the Tropics.”

Alex was starting to feel too removed from making true change when he ran across the Grassroots Campaigns job posting on Craig’s List in early April. His varied experiences from working abroad to teaching children made him a perfect candidate for GCI, but he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into! “I had a sense of, well, fundraising, but the interviewers seemed so excited and motivated, I thought whatever, it couldn’t be so bad.”

Alex grew up in Miami, Florida as a part of the Cuban-American community. He received his Masters in Theater from Brown University in 2002. Alex views his Grassroots Campaigns experience as amazing. He describes his peers as a great group of enthusiastic young people. Alex has been based in our outreach office in Chicago, IL.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Southwest Voter Registration Education Project

At an awards ceremony during the Democratic National Convention, we recognized several organizations for their non-partisan efforts to increase voter participation.

DHP_SW_Voters.jpgSouthwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) is celebrating 30 years of voter registration and advocacy on behalf of the Latino community. In the photograph here, SVREP President Antonio Gonzalez (2nd person from right) celebrates with other SVREP staff and GCI friends.

This year, SVREP is engaged in three major registration projects, including the 10-4 Campaign, a partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and the Hispanic Federation. The Campaign for Communities is a collaboration which includes the Earth Day Network, the NAACP National Voter Fund and others in order to mobilize a million new minority and youth voters in competitive states.

For more information on this important project, please visit www.svrep.org

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 04:42 AM | Comments (0)

Rev. Jackson Briefs GCI staff

revjackson.jpgRev. Jesse Jackson briefed GCI canvass directors during a national training in Washington, DC. Here is an excerpt of his remarks…

So if you expand a military budget on the one hand and cut taxes on the other, all you have left is deficit and debt. And the poorest people fall in that hole. That's why we need a new President friends, we need a new President.

My friends, America deserves better leadership. We must go in a new direction. I hope that in these coming days ahead as we work diligently, we'll go campus by campus town by town and raise the right issues. When enough of America comes alive, the whole world gets better.

The good news is that your generation has the power to change the course.
There are more youth than seniors, but more seniors vote than youth. The numbers don't matter, your voting matters. YOU have the power to stop a war. You have the power to protect a woman's right of choice. You have the power to raise minimum wages. You have the power to reinvest in our children. You have the power to take America out of isolation. You have the power to stop the marginalization of people whether they are black or white or gay or straight. You have the power to create one big tent.

With equal protection under the law, equal access, equal opportunity in one big tent America. And we'll send George Bush back to Crawford, Texas.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 04:33 AM | Comments (0)

Our "inside the beltway" canvass has stories to tell.

Hanging in the Washington DC office is an inspiring quote from Cesar Chavez:

"You knock on twenty doors or so, and twenty guys tell you to go to hell, or that they haven’t got the time. But, maybe at the fortieth or sixtieth house you find one guy who is all you need."

The Washington DC teams have taken this to heart both at the door and on the street. Whether you are on the street flagging down supporters or knocking door-to-door in the suburbs, DC canvassers are going to have great stories. Here are a few…

robynswirling.jpgRobyn Swirling of New York City was canvassing outside the John Kerry for President headquarters in Washington DC when none other than none other than Senator John Edwards walked out of the building! Robyn lightheartedly called out, “hey, do you wanna help beat Bush!?” Senator Edwards flashed his famous smile and gave Robyn a huge hug.

Katya Petrochenkov of Triangle, Virginia, was door-to-door canvassing in Tenleytown near the Grassroots Campaigns office. She was excited to approach a house with a “Re-Defeat Bush” sign in the yard. She came across a Republican baby-sitter and a curious young six-year old boy. He listened attentively to Katya’s explanation about why the campaign to elect John Kerry was so important. The sitter asked that she come back when the boy’s parents were home. Katya returned to an amazing story. The little boy had made a poster that said “NO BUSH!” On his own initiative, he canvassed the street getting signatures of support from his neighbors!

David Ruffin, Director of the street canvass, canvassed a nice woman and her daughter while working outside of Fahrenheit 9/11. David thought the pair looked familiar, though he could not place them. A previously canvassed supporter walked by and asked Dave, “did you see Dick Gephardt?!” Dave enthusiastically queried, “are you serious?” The nice woman he was canvassing confirmed, “Yes, …he’s my husband,” “…and MY dad,” added Chrissy Gephardt. After a moment’s recovery Dave joked, “and I thought I was here convincing YOU to get involved!” Dave was then introduced to Congressman Dick Gephardt, and they had a nice chat about the work of Grassroots Campaigns. Mrs. Gephardt contributed.

Posted by Gigi Norcross at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)