Marking Northwest Philadelphia’s most tangible sign that this is a Presidential election year, Obama For America (OFA) opened its field office in West Oak Lane’s Ogontz Plaza on Wednesday night.
“The office will serve as the community hub for the organization’s activities in Northwest Philadelphia,” said OFA’s Devora Kaye during a ribbon-cutting event at 7171 Ogontz Ave.
Guests filled the office an hour before the event started, forcing some to wait outside before more room was available.
Once inside, attendees were directed to volunteer- and voter-registration stations as “team leader” Arlene Edmonds cheered, “Are you fired up today? Are you ready to vote for Obama?”
OFA regional field director Phil Gaskins told those assembled that, “This particular area has the most voting turnouts in the city. We have to make sure everyone is registered to vote and that everyone will volunteer this year.”
Election-year messaging was also a focus as the office will host its first phone bank on Saturday.
“You may hear people say there is a lack of enthusiasm in your neighborhood. You may hear that President Obama hasn’t done anything for them, but people in our community don’t know the truth,” said Stefanie Brown, OFA’s national African American outreach director. “He has done a great deal.”
Michael Blake, OFA’s deputy operation vote director, added that supporters must “not get amnesia on where this country was before President Obama and where this country is now. When we win, you get to let others know that the work we did back in ’08 was not in vain.”
Local Dems attend
Both Mayor Michael Nutter and state Rep. Dwight Evans were on hand, and both clearly needed no encouragement to show their support for the incumbent, even before his general-election foe is known.
While Evans said “he will go down in history as being one of the best Presidents in the country,” Nutter spoke of the importance of voting.
“Washington would allow our country to fall off the face of the earth to get rid of President Obama. We have to do our job and vote,” Nutter said. “We have a lot of work to do. Let us not get distracted by nonsense.”