Kerry opens headquarters in Tallahassee

In the heat of a Tallahassee afternoon, a small room that held only political posters, placards and stickers, soon filled up with Democrats, politicians, John Kerry supporters and other onlookers who all attended the official grand opening of the Tallahassee headquarters for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

The grand opening festivities took place on Wednesday in what would soon become the political war room and nerve center for the Florida Democratic Party’s efforts to gain votes for John Kerry and John Edwards in the Tallahassee and the rest of the North Florida region.

The well-attended event was designed to rally the party faithful and motivate campaign workers to do all the grassroots campaigning necessary to win the November election.

“We want all of you to sweat and work hard in this election for the Kerry- Edwards ticket until George Bush is out of the White House and sweating back in Crawford, Texas,” said Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “We may not be able to out spend [the Republicans], but we have always been able to out work them.”

Though the mood of the grand opening party at the new headquarters was upbeat, many of the attendees recognized that there would be a lot of hard campaign work in the coming months and stressed the importance of the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

One candid attendee, Ron Williams, said he has always considered himself a hardworking and extremely outspoken man. He moved to Tallahassee from Philadelphia in 1996 and said that he has always tried to vote for whoever is the “workingman’s candidate.”

“I volunteered several weeks ago at the flea market for the Kerry campaign and I am going to make sure that I give a lot of my time to help out at the new headquarters,” Williams said.

When the campaign headquarters is fully operational, campaign volunteers will be able to do community outreach, in-depth political research, and workers will have the ability to dispel what they view as myths and misinformation spread by the Bush campaign.

“The opening of the campaign headquarters is important because the people of this area will now be able to truly get involved with the Kerry campaign,” said Tamia Booker, 21, a senior political science student from Philadelphia and president of the FAMU College Democrats. “Citizens can volunteer around the community to get the word out about Kerry.”

The event also gave political novices a chance to sign up for a variety of campaign programs that would not only get them involved in the political process, but would make them key players in community outreach efforts and get-out-the-vote initiatives.

Katrina White has lived in Tallahassee since 1984, never worked on a political campaign before, but now, because of the issues the country faces, she said she is highly motivated to get involved.

Kerry supporters in attendance said they would work hard and do all they can to ensure that their candidate wins.

“We won this state four years ago for Al Gore, we won it for Bill Clinton and Gov. Lawton Chiles and we will win Florida for John Kerry,” said Maddox.

Malcolm Glover can be reached at