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Area residents campaign ahead of Election Day

  • Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Warren supporters take full advantage of the heavy traffic at Damon road and Route 9 Sunday as the election looms closer on Tuesday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Warren supporters take full advantage of the heavy traffic at Damon road and Route 9 Sunday as the election looms closer on Tuesday.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Warren campaign volunteers help with some last-minute phone banking at Warren Campaign Headquarters on Strong Avenue in Northampton Sunday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Warren supporters take full advantage of the heavy traffic at Damon road and Route 9 Sunday as the election looms closer on Tuesday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

Many voters said they were working hard to get out the vote in the days leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, even if they weren’t officially working on a campaign.

“I’m scared because it’s close,” said Chris Kerr, 58, of Florence, on the race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Kerr said she not only plans to vote, but also mobilize others to turn out at the polls.

Others stressed the importance of voting as they unloaded trash and recycling at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton on Saturday.

“It’s what you do,” said Kim Williams, 56, also of Florence. “I think every vote counts.”

Even voters disillusioned by both presidential candidates said they will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

“I have to, for my own conscience, so that when things don’t happen, I can at least say I tried,” said Roy Giangregorio, 53, of Northampton.

Giangregorio said his biggest worry is the country’s deficit and the future for the next generation.

“Whoever gets in there isn’t going to be able to fix the problems,” he said.

Not surprisingly, economic issues are on a lot of voters’ minds this election.

Rebecca Long, 55, of Northampton, who described herself as “optimistic, yet nervous” about Tuesday’s election, said that above all else, “people need jobs.”

“If we feel like we can take care of ourselves, then we can go out and do other things,” she said.

James Stillwagon, 37, of Northampton described the political fervor as “just another election.

“It’s another mudslinging fight between two candidates,” Stillwagon said.

He said he believes the two presidential candidates are very much alike, but he still plans to vote on Tuesday.

“It’s my duty,” he said.

Doug Wheat, 46, of Florence, described the presidential election as especially pivotal.

“There’s a lot at stake,” he said, referring to likely vacancies on the Supreme Court. Wheat said the next president will have not only a four-year-long impact, but an impact for several decades to come.

For some, the race between Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has overshadowed the presidential election, as well as the other local races and ballot questions that voters will decide Tuesday. Some voters are finding ways to turn their anxieties about the election into something productive.

Hannah Morehouse, 80, and Phyllis Woolf, 74, both of Northampton, and Marion VanArsdell, 69, of Florence, were in downtown Northampton Saturday morning, holding signs for Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign.

“I’m hoping that I’m doing everything I can,” said Morehouse, who has been standing with campaign signs at various locations around Northampton over the last several weeks. “I think it’s going well.”

Woolf said she has been coordinating the visibility efforts for Northampton’s Warren campaign since August.

“As the country is more and more evenly divided, every single vote counts,” she said. Work like this, canvassing and phone banking, she said, is “the stuff that can really help people change their minds.”

Warren’s campaign headquarters on Strong Avenue was abuzz with activity, including a group of supporters working the phones. Ryan Walsh-Martel, a Conway native who works for Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico in Washington, said he was spending vacation time working for Warren’s campaign down the stretch.

“I’m from the area so I figured I’d come up and help where I can,” Walsh-Martel said, adding that it’s not only about persuading people to vote for one’s candidate of choice.

“Just talking to people to get out and vote is just as important,” he said, after grabbing a slice of cold pizza in Warren’s campaign office.

Others were backing their candidates loudly and clearly. Henry Parsons, a dairy farmer in Westhampton said he supports Brown for a variety of reasons, not least of which was his past support for dairy farmers. Parsons, an Obama supporter in the last presidential election, also said he believes Brown has been unfairly criticized by the news media and Warren backers through the campaign on women’s issues, his lack of time spent in western Massachusetts, and his voting record.

“My attention is kind of drawn to Scott Brown because of the bashing he’s been taking in the newspapers and I can’t believe he’s been that bad,” Parsons said. “His wife is a woman and he has two daughters and I think he would be very supportive of women and opportunities for women.”

Parson said he votes for candidates on where they stand on issues and not party affiliations. He said Brown has only been in the Senate two years and deserves more time in office.

“How many times do we see (U.S. Sen.) John Kerry circulating around here or how much did we see Ted Kennedy circulating around western Massachusetts?” Parson said.

Warren supporter Peggy Luce of Northampton, who helped recruit Warren to run for the Senate seat, said she doesn’t believe Brown is who he says he is on women’s issues, including his pro-choice position.

“Women’s health is a big, big deal for me,” said Luce, a nurse midwife, who works at a Boston hospital by night and campaigns for Warren by day. “This is a really tough time for people. I don’t think he (Brown) will be able to have an independent voice.”

VanArsdell, who was campaigning for Warren over the weekend, said she’s relieved that the uncertainty will finally be over Tuesday night.

“I am very glad it’s here,” she said of the election. “I think everybody’s ready to have it happen.”

Related

Few contested local races on Tuesday's ballot

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A presidential race gobbles up the lion’s share of voter attention. The race between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney has been no different. And with one of the most fiercely contested Senate races in the country, Massachusetts voters are also following the contest between Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. But when voters …

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