By David L. Harris/ Staff Writer for West Roxbury Transcript
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Some distance away from the familiar sights of the Parkway, local politicians and activists are setting out to spread the good word about their favorite hometown presidential hopeful, Sen. John F. Kerry, trying to persuade voters in other states before the election in about two weeks.
From working as surrogates for the senator to knocking on doors in key battleground states, part-time campaigners from Kerry country are working hard to put their man in the White House come Nov. 2.
Many local politicians, including District 6 City Councilor John M. Tobin Jr., will be making their way to Ohio later this month.
"I'll be doing some surrogate speaking on behalf of Sen. Kerry," Tobin said. "I'll be talking about why I'm with the senator. We did that in Iowa [at the caucuses]. I just put on a baseball cap, put out flyers, make phone calls."
Tobin was originally scheduled to help Kerry in Florida for three weeks this month, but local matters trumped national politics.
Tobin said he focused instead on "the student assignment [process] and the Red Sox ... I still have to keep my eyes on the ball here."
When he was elected city councilor two years ago, Tobin received a congratulatory phone call from Kerry. In return, Tobin said that he would support Kerry whatever way he could - even though Kerry hadn't yet officially announced his presidential ambitions.
District 5 City Councilor Rob Consalvo said he's traveled to New Hampshire about five times in the past few months, knocking on doors and talking to undecided voters. He was just in Manchester, N.H., this past weekend.
"We got a great response," said Consalvo, who traveled with his chief of staff, Brian Clinton, and West Roxbury's Drew O'Brien, Kerry's state political director and Consalvo's brother-in-law. "A lot of undecided voters said they were going to vote for John Kerry."
But, he said, "Community concerns take precedence and my family ... I've got two new children."
City Councilor Maura A. Hennigan will drive to New Hampshire this weekend, and one of her staffers, West Roxbury resident Andrew Kenneally and his mother, Janice, made their way to New Hampshire last weekend.
"We're big Kerry supporters," Hennigan said of her staff. "We're going to do what it takes. We certainly feel comfortable that Massachusetts will be very supportive of him. From what I understand, New Hampshire is very important."
"I can't understand why it's close at all," she laughed.
Said Kenneally, Hennigan's chief of staff, "we just canvassed and ID'd voters. Our job would be to go out and knock on doors. It was really fun to get involved in the campaign. I met so many wonderful people up there."
Other residents actively working on the Kerry campaign include Wayne Wilson, a Ward 19 Democratic Committee member, and Dan Settana, a Ward 20 Democratic Committee member.
Wilson has been driving his minivan up to New Hampshire and will continue to do so up until the election.
Settana has been traveling to New Hampshire on the weekends. He's also been using the phone, calling voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire, states that are important for Kerry and President George W. Bush.
"We're going up to New Hampshire on the weekends and getting involved," said Settana.
David Harris can be reached at [email protected]