Sanders supporters bring campaign to Carbondale, plan rally for Sunday

By Anna Spoerre, @annaspoerre

Carbondale may soon feel the Bern.

An official Bernie Sanders campaign office opened Sunday in Carbondale. The one-room office, located at 715 S. University Ave. next to Blend Tea and Crepe, is mostly empty aside from a couple of tables and dozens of posters covering the windows. Walls sporting blue signs for the Democratic presidential candidate say, “A future to believe in.”

Volunteer Kimia Memar said despite being a small city, Carbondale’s liberal student presence made it an opportune destination for Sanders.

Advertisement

Supporters have planned a noon Sanders rally at the office on Sunday, where attendees will have the opportunity to sign up to volunteer, make phone calls to potential voters and get fired up about the election, Memar said.

Even though the office has been open for less than a week, Memar, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering from Missouri, said more volunteers are coming in each day. She said volunteers come in at all hours to make phone calls and organize additional volunteers in preparation for the March 15 Illinois primary.

Memar said the goal is to collectively make 200 calls a day through their volunteer phone bank.

Beginning Thursday they will start going door to door talking to people in the community about the election.

Ben Woolard, who organized the rally, said he wanted to get the word about Sanders out in a predominantly conservative region.

Woolard, who graduated from SIU in May 2012 with a degree in radio television, said more than 150 have RSVP’d for the event on Facebook.

“When you don’t get involved, you pay a cost,” Memar said.

He said the state’s budget impasse and exponential cuts to higher education-funding make this election all the more important to students.

Memar said getting younger people registered to vote is often challenging, so they’re trying to get students to vote before spring break. Right now, Memar said the team is just focused on getting Sanders nominated and wants people to “know Bernie better” so they can make an informed decision at the voting booth.

“Sanders is the most authentic politician I’ve ever heard,” Woolard said. “I think he’s the only candidate that really feels strongly about equality for all.”

Anna Spoerre can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

Advertisement