GORDON PRESTON stands in front a board full of cartoons he had collected leading up to hosting an event featuring presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Cantrall. (click for larger version)
August 05, 2015BARNSTEAD — Barnstead residents Gordon and Kati Preston hosted an event for presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders last Wednesday evening.
The Prestons borrowed their son Dave's business, OSG Paintball, as a venue to host the informal gathering.
Guests sat at the picnic tables under the shelter and listened as Gordon Preston welcomed them to the event.
"My name is Gordon Preston and I got myself into, I don't know what," joked Preston.
Preston shared that after researching all of the candidates currently in the presidential race, he found Sanders and called his office where they asked he host an event.
"I've been buried ever since," said Preston.
"This isn't a fundraiser," continued Preston, "I want people to absorb ideas, concepts and sound bites."
Preston further elaborated the financial support of a presidential candidate is a "personal decision."
Lastly, Preston shared with those in attendance the cartoon work on display, which, to his surprise, he began to receive after booking the event in support of Sanders.
Preston then introduced his wife Kati, saying she was speaking after him because "she always wants the last word."
Kati Preston shared a little of her background as a child of Catholic and Jewish parents during WWII and how a "simple peasant woman saved my life" demonstrating the power of one person.
Preston, the only survivor on her father's side of the family, stated Nazism is "bullying on steroids."
She stated she believes 10 percent of people are evil, 10 percent are nice, and the other 80 percent are sheep.
Preston stated it is the sheep we need to worry about since we don't know who is leading them.
"Every time I gave birth to a Jewish baby, I gave Hitler the finger," said Preston.
She encouraged young people and those present to help the world; register to vote.
"We must take our country back from the money people. We can't sell our country; you have the power," encouraged Kati Preston.
Representing the younger generation, Barnstead resident Michael Towle, spoke next.
"I represent the future of America, but voter turnout for my demographic is not so great," said Towle.
He pondered the fact that politics is full of recounts and voter fraud, but dancing competitions on television provide instantaneous results.
Towle stated he sees accelerating technology as a means of transparency in an election.
He also noted that access to money making a candidate more electable is something that "makes my generation sad."
"Why go into something where I don't have a voice; technology gives us a voice," said Towle.
He stated the goal should be to put technology into the hands of people who don't have access, and take the country back.
Sanders spokesperson from the Concord office, Oliver Larkin, was also present and the last to speak before Sanders addressed the guests via video.
Larkin stated the "Bernie Sanders campaign is about grassroots organization… about the people who want to take back the campaign."
He stated $15 million dollars had been raised in the first quarter with the average donation at only $35.
Larkin also stated Sanders would be in the Exeter and Manchester areas the following weekend and encouraged everyone to come hear him speak in person.
In the video, Sanders stated by meeting in this manner he was able to address 3,000 locations all over the United States at the same time.
He called for a "political revolution" in this country, stating that income inequality is a huge issue and we need an "economy that works for all of us."
Sanders went through some major issues he saw the country facing including the "Koch brothers and other billionaires buying the country" through the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court.
Sanders stated he preferred to have public funding of campaigns allowing people to run for office without the need for wealthy support.
He stated he does not have a super PAC and is not going to start one.
Sanders also spoke in favor of energy efficiency saying climate change is a problem.
Additionally, he would like to see healthcare move into a single payer system, have public universities be free to students, and help high school kids by investing in jobs and education instead of jails.
Lastly, Sanders spoke of how he would like to combat "institutional racism" in this country.
He noted there is "a lot of work ahead," but encouraged those watching to ask "why not" when addressing an issue.
Sanders called for everyone to get their families, co-workers, and neighbors involved in the political process.
"I look forward to working with you to bring these changes about," concluded Sanders.
Next a volunteer for the campaign was on screen and encouraged those viewing the video feed to text a number, to which the campaign would respond with a link to a volunteer form.
"Starting tomorrow, we will reach out to you," said the volunteer on the screen.
Barnstead resident Karen Schacht closed the gathering by speaking a little about what she seeks in a presidential candidate and how she sees Sanders in that role.
"Everyone is burdened… not enough time to enjoy life of each other," observed Schacht.
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