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CHICAGO – Today, the Obama campaign announced the full slate of ten supporters selected to be “Backstage with Barack” at the Democratic National Convention next week. The ten voters selected for backstage access for Obama’s speech next Thursday represent the diversity of Obama supporters and come from all across the country. The ten supporters were selected from ten different states, and each will be able to bring one guest. The supporters will receive airfare, accommodations, and will attend two days of convention activities -- including a private meeting with Senator Obama before his historic speech at Invesco Field in Denver on Thursday, August 28th.
“Senator Obama is focused on opening up the convention, his acceptance speech and the democratic process to more people than ever before. Supporters are responsible for building this movement and for bringing this campaign so far -- and Barack looks forward to sharing this moment with them,” said campaign manager David Plouffe.
Anne Rector - Indianapolis, IN
Anne Rector is a retired federal worker from Indianapolis and an active volunteer for the Obama campaign. She is active in many forms of community service, but has focused much of her work in recent months on helping to elect Barack Obama – including voter registration every weekend before the Indiana primary. She has said she admires Senator Obama both for his common sense and eloquence, and said that he “transcends the politics of divisiveness, even within his own party.”
James T. Fondriest - Massillon, OH
Massillon, Ohio native James T. Fondriest says that he still identifies as a Republican, but is supporting Barack Obama for President because he “finally feels like America has found a leader it can look up to and trust.” As a college student at The Ohio State University, Fondriest campaigned for George W. Bush in 2004, but after four-years of discontent and a deep desire to change America for the better, he is supporting Obama. Today, Fondriest is a law school student and is deeply concerned about fiscal responsibility and America’s standing overseas. He says that Sen. Obama has inspired him to believe in politics again and, most importantly, the power of the ordinary citizen.
Eric Melder - PA
Eric Melder is a retired YMCA Director, married with three sons and seven grandchildren, who has worked as a counselor to troubled young men – helping them overcome difficult circumstances so they can realize their great potential. As a Sunday School teacher and member of the Rotary club, Eric is dedicated to his community. Melder says he doesn’t always vote for Democrats, and originally was a supporter of Mike Huckabee before coming to enthusiastically support Barack Obama.
Holly Stebing - Anchorage, AK
Holly Stebing is an Inupiaq Eskimo from Anchorage, Alaska. She is passionate about increasing Native American participation in government and has been active in registering community members in Anchorage and throughout the state. This past summer, Holly travelled the state interviewing Native American elders about their experiences with the federal government. Holly is excited about Barack Obama’s candidacy because he represents change and she relates to his humble beginnings.
Barb Sackman - Fallon, MT
Barb Sackman is teacher and a proud farmwife. Her husband raises wheat and fodder for cattle. Barb understands firsthand how rising fuel costs have hurt farming communities. Barb is active in her local community church and believes that bio-fuels and renewable energies will help invigorate her small town of 150 people. Barb likes Barack Obama because “he genuinely cares about people like me.”
Kayla Whitaker - Fargo, ND
Kayla Whitaker, 20, of Fargo, North Dakota, first became interested in politics last November when she learned about Barack Obama. An Evangelical Christian, Kayla was interested in learning more about Senator Obama’s faith, and watched Obama’s “Call to Renewal” speech about religion and politics on the website. Barack Obama’s commitment to his faith and his open mind about changing our world inspired her, for the first time in her life, to become involved in politics. A college student, Kayla’s top issues in this election are health care, education, and clean energy.
Marsha Shearer- The Villages, FL
A retired school principal, Marsha Shearer lives in a majority-Republican retirement community in Florida. She has been interested and involved in political campaigns before but has been an active volunteer for the Barack Obama campaign since February of this year. She supports Senator Obama because, “ He represents something above and beyond. He has a global view that is unique and his own personal biography has allowed him to see beyond short-term goals.” She will bring her granddaughter, a college student, to the convention to witness this historic speech.
Lenny Julius- Emerald Isle, NC
Lenny Julius is a 67 year old Vietnam War veteran who served with John McCain and supported him in 2000. Now, he says, “Senator McCain has become a strong supporter of the Bush policies both domestic and foreign.” Although Julius served with McCain in the Navy, he believes Barack Obama is the change we need for America.
Trinace Johnson- Richmond, VA
Trinace Johnson is a disabled veteran working as a civilian for the Army. As the relative of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the “Little Rock 9,” Johnson says she knows the “power of the few and the necessity for change.” She became active with the Barack Obama campaign after seeing her precinct run out of ballots during the primary election – she wants to make sure the election process “goes right” in November. She says, “Senator Obama has addressed just about every single need that I feel I personally have: Veteran support, education, stopping the war, tax breaks for the middle class, gas prices and healthcare.”
John Volkmar- Boulder, CO
John Volkmar, an Iraq War veteran, is now a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After almost ten years of service and two tours in Iraq, John left the Army to serve the country in other ways, including working to develop an effective national energy policy. John is currently taking classes towards his MBA, so that he will be able to help stop the influence of special interests in Washington and change the relationship between our country’s dependence on foreign oil and our flawed foreign policy approach.