Locals Sound Off on Senator's Friday Visit
By Alexander Plummer
Hampton Union, Tuesday, July 24, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Seacoast residents streamed into Marston Elementary School on Friday morning to hear presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Before the senator's arrival, supporters jockeyed for position and quickly gobbled up the few remaining seats left in a hot and humid Marston School auditorium.
"I tried to see him when he spoke in Rye and I didn't make it," Kensington resident Elizabeth Elway said as she positioned herself in the back of the auditorium for a better view of the candidate. "I am undecided right now, but I would definitely be interested in supporting Obama, because he brings fresh ideas and energy to the political process."
Alongside Elway stood hundreds of Obama supporters, waving posters and cheering the Illinois senator. "I enjoy listening to him talk," said Marston School worker and Hampton resident Brad Bailey, Sr.
"I work for the school, which is partly why I am here right now, but I support Obama as well, and I think he talks sense most of the time."
When the Illinois senator hit the stage, the crowd erupted welcoming Obama.
"Thank you Hampton," Obama said to a raucous round of applause. "What a great Friday morning crowd this is."
With that brief introduction, the candidate was off and running, covering a broad range of issues, that included the war in Iraq, health care, and reducing poverty across the country.
"He is and was such an exciting speaker," North Hampton resident Candace Lord said. "He addressed so many issues and seemed to know so much about all of them." One particular issue Lord said she had come to hear Obama speak about was health care, and she got her wish.
"He hit on my issue of health care, and I think he did a great job talking about it," Lord said. "I like how he also wrapped the issues together during his speech and it seemed like he knew every one of them."
Lord's son Calvin joined his mother for the morning event.
"I really like that he answered so many questions," Calvin said. "He seems really humble, and it seem like he stands for the common person."
Patrick Kelley, 21 of Hampton Falls, was at the even to support his favorite candidate. "I love his charisma and it seems like he wants to get the country back into its old shape, which would be really good right about now." Kelly said he care about war and education, and that Obama, touched on both and spoke well about each."
Kelly's friend Brian O'Connor, whose father happens to be the Marston School principal who played basketball with Obama before the event, loved the chance to see a candidate up close. "I came because I wanted to get to know as many candidates as I can," he said. "Obama sounds like a nice guy and he has a nice smile."
Kevin Fleming, a teacher at Winnacunnet High School, was at the event to hear Obama talk about education.
"He is an interesting guy, and he is definitely a little out of the ordinary," he said. "Education is a big issue to me and he sounded very thoughtful when he spoke about it. It looks like he understands the big picture."
SAU 21 Superintendent James Gaylord said he hopes this is only the beginning.
"We try to bring any candidate to Hampton and especially our schools," he said. "So Mitt (Romney) and Hillary (Clinton) and the rest of them are welcome anytime they want."