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Women for Obama sponsor outreach picnic at City Park

September 28, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

The T-shirts, buttons and banners tell of their allegiance. They are supporters of Barack Obama.

Some previously had worked for Hillary Clinton, others had been undecided.

But now, they firmly are in the Illinois senator's corner.

They are Women for Obama - a grass-roots effort to connect women with information about the Democratic presidential candidate and his position on issues.

"We want people to learn as much as they can about Barack Obama," said Lucretia Jefferson, chairwoman of the local organization. "We work the telephones, we canvass, we do whatever we can to connect with voters."

Saturday afternoon, they sponsored a picnic at City Park in Hagerstown with the hope of reaching even more people.

Jefferson said the local Women for Obama is part of a national group, which was organized when Obama announced his candidacy.

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Inspired to become involved in this year's presidential election, Jefferson said she decided to start an area chapter.

That was in June, when the total number of members was eight. Now, membership has reached more than 70, she said.

"When I came up with this idea, I didn't know what to expect," Jefferson said. "I knew that people, generally, don't participate in the election process. I've actually been overwhelmed at the response."

The picnic, with a theme of "We Are the World," was the idea of Donna Schieferstein, the group's event coordinator.

Schieferstein said she originally was a Hillary Clinton supporter, but believes Obama's message is similar to Clinton's.

"Their ideals are the same," she said.

Pat Heck, chairwoman of the Democratic Central Committee of Washington County, said that Women for Obama chapters were sponsoring events across the country Saturday - from rallies to fundraisers.

"Locally, this picnic is just one of this group's many ideas," she said. "Their enthusiasm is phenomenal, and the central committee is doing everything we can do to support them."

Jefferson said she was hoping for a good turnout. More than 50 people had arrived by early afternoon, including Jennifer Dougherty, who is opposing Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett in the 6th Congressional District race; Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington; and other local Democratic leaders.

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