Politicians campaign, promote Obama

Students gathered at Serna Plaza listened to political supporters and guest speakers Bill Durston and Kevin Johnson Oct. 30:


Students gathered at Serna Plaza listened to political supporters and guest speakers Bill Durston and Kevin Johnson Oct. 30:

Sam Pearson

Supporters for Sen. Barack Obama gathered to rally support for the general election campaign, as well as to promote their positions on state and local races, and ballot propositions.

The Sacramento Progressive Alliance sponsored the event and invited candidates for office and representatives of some of the state ballot measures to speak.

While the organizers all shared enthusiasm for Obama, the event featured state and local races more prominently than the presidential election, which is not a close race in California.

Democratic congressional candidate Bill Durston, who is running against Rep. Dan Lungren, spoke on stage. Meanwhile, over at Durston’s campaign table, volunteers passed out brochures slamming Lungren and promoting Durston’s positions. On stage, Durston called Lungren “one of the worst congressmen.”

Durston said he would work to withdraw United States troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of troops he would use police work and intelligence gathering, which he said would be more productive.

Sociology professor Paul Burke introduced political speakers and students from the Natomas Charter School of the Performing Arts, who performed politically themed dramatic readings and songs between speakers.

While the alliance does not have an official position in the Sacramento mayor’s race, Kevin Johnson attended to rally to speak on the importance of voting.

Before going on stage, Johnson walked through the University Union and out into the Library Quad, talking to students and posing for pictures.

By the time Johnson turned around and walked through the union again to return, a crowd had gathered and followed behind him. As Johnson prepared to go on stage, Burke rallied the crowd. “No on 8! No on 8! No on 8!” he said.

Johnson told students that even though voting ends earlier on the east coast because of the time difference, students should still participate here. “When you see the polls close, you’ve still got to go to the ballot,” he said. On his way out, he snuck in a quick plug for his candidacy.

Dan Paul from the Humane Society spoke in favor of Proposition 2, which would require additional space for farm animals. He said that egg laying hens lived their whole lives in a 67 square inch area.

“I couldn’t imagine a more horrific existence than that,” Paul said. Kevin Kraft, sophomore government major, volunteered for Alyson Huber’s campaign for California State Assembly. Kraft, on his first campaign, said he focused on a local campaign rather than a larger one since he thought it affected him more directly.

“I’m working on Alyson’s campaign because I want to elect people that will save higher education and will make sure that education not only gets funded but really gets the support that it needs,” Kraft said.

Sam Pearson can be reached at [email protected]