Pro-Obama locals prepare for convention | SierraSun.com

Pro-Obama locals prepare for convention

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

AP Photo

The 2008 Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday in Denver, and local delegates and Barack Obama supporters will be tuning in at convention “watch parties” across the region to witness the pivotal moment in U.S. history as the first African-American accepts the presidential nomination.

Congressional District Four delegate Christa Darlington ” who will journey to Denver on Saturday to represent the region ” said attending the convention means more than beholding the historic event.

The Auburn attorney and mother of two said she is eager to hear speeches made by Obama supporters like Michelle Obama and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, whose messages echo the ideals she finds most compelling.

“One of my favorite policies is the idea to support the working family, particularly working women by providing adequate time off for when they have a baby,” Darlington said. “It’s very important we find ways for women to continue being professionals while raising a family.”

The volunteer organizer for Placer County and Truckee said she wasn’t always interested in politics, but after reading Obama’s 2006 memoir ” “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” ” Darlington said she promptly became involved.

“I had no idea what I was capable of until I started believing in the Barack Obama candidacy,” she said. “I’m looking for specifics and for people who want to solve problems through practical solutions.”

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As a volunteer for the Sierra Foothills for Obama, Darlington said grassroots organizing in the rural Truckee-Tahoe area has been somewhat of a challenge. But after a successful first Camp Obama in North Lake Tahoe last weekend, she’s confident more residents will unite behind her candidate’s message.

“I’ve recognized how many people have wanted to do something but didn’t know how,” Darlington said. “It’s important to participate in this democracy. People cannot be passive or it will lose it’s luster over time.”

That fervor translated quickly to Kira Yannetta at the Kings Beach Camp Obama where the Truckee resident and Moonshine Ink editor volunteered to take on the Mountain Team Leader position to motivate Truckee-Tahoe Obama supporters.

“Any time that anyone can give to the campaign is helpful,” said Yannetta, who will work to spur Truckee-Tahoe residents into action through canvassing, setting up voter registration booths and spreading Obama’s message of hope.

Fellow Truckee Team Leader Sandy Whiederkehr, whose political passion can be traced back to the Ronald Reagan era, said it’s important for the Tahoe Basin community to participate in the campaign because of the critical location.

“We will be taking groups to the Reno-area to campaign as Nevada is really a swing state and it is important to gain their support,” Whiederkehr said.

Convincing Nevadans to vote Democratic may not be as difficult as years past if the swing state follows a trend that has transpired in what was once a predominately Republican Placer County, said Rob Haswell, campaign manager for Fifth District supervisor challenger Jennifer Montgomery.

“There has been a resurgence in Democratic activity in Placer County,” Haswell said. “The number of people registering Democratic in the first quarter of this year was pretty astounding for the Republican-dominated county.”

Earlier this month, nearly 200 onlookers attended the reopening of the Democratic Party headquarters in Auburn, which hadn’t opened its doors in nearly a decade, said Haswell, whose vote is driven by Obama’s economic and environmental concepts.

In the first quarter of 2008, more people registered as Democrats in Placer County than any other affiliation, pushing Republican registration below 50 percent for the first time in a decade, according to a Placer County Democratic Party press release.

“It’s going to be a historic year in many ways,” Haswell said. “I think this county and this country are ready to embrace Obama’s message of change.”

The Sierra Foothills for Obama will host another Camp Obama in Truckee at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 8. Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with setting up booths, canvassing and voter registration. For more information and to find out the location, contact Christa Darlington at sierrafoothillsforobama@gmail.com.