Jan 242008
Authors: Katy Hallock

As presidential candidate Barack Obama continues to pick up momentum on the final stretch before Super Tuesday, young people continue to provide a crucial boost to his campaign. It’s no surprise, then, that a new Obama office popped up minutes away from the CSU campus.

And local supporters seem driven to jump on the Obama train.

“Obama seems different from main-stream politics,” said office volunteer and Fort Collins resident Matt Campbell. “He may not have the experience, but he doesn’t seem as a part of ‘the game’ of politics. He challenges people to get involved.”

Volunteers from the initiative reach out three times a week not only to advocate for Obama, but also to show citizens the importance of the caucus and how it works.

“We are hoping to bring people out,” Campbell said. “Whether for Obama or not, out is the main thing.”

CSU will be a strategic recruiting hub for Fort Collin’s newest campaign office.

The university’s Young Democrats partnered with the Obama campaign to hold a leadership training Thursday night on the top floor of the Lory Student Center. Many of the attendees are not affiliated with the Young Democrats, but are out to show support for the presidential hopeful.

“I registered at the table on campus and signed up to be a caucus captain,” said CSU senior Josh Rivera. “The only way we will make real change happen is by getting out there. It’s time for change in the world, and Obama is the only candidate that stands on real change.”

Lindsay Riggio, a senior business major, said she attended the event mostly out of curiosity.

“I’ve never been involved in a caucus before,” she said. “But I went to training, and it really fires you up.”

The intense grassroots energy and hunger for change is what brought the Obama message to Fort Collins, said office volunteer Anne Wilseck.

As the first viable black presidential hopeful, volunteers said, Obama’s legitimacy as a candidate has been catapulted by what many young people see as a stagnant presidency in the Bush administration.

“He seems to be in the right place at the right time,” said Byron Moore, an active participant in Students for Obama and a senior political science major at CSU. “The republican revolution is on its way out, and it’s time to do new business.”

Staff writer Katy Hallock can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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