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Campaign office grand opening draws hundreds of Sanders’ supporters

Hundreds flocked to the Mission District in San Francisco on Thursday for the grand opening of Bernie Sanders’ Bay Area campaign headquarters.

Former San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim played host at the event, which was part political rally, part celebration and part organizational meeting. Kim, who was named Bay Area regional director for the Sanders campaign, later announced she had been asked to steward the statewide drive.

Other notable politicians in attendance were El Cerrito Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, Berkeley Auditor Jenny Wong, San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston and former California legislator Tommy Ammiano.

Ahead of the standing-room-only event, a crowd in excess of 150 people lined the 2200 block of Mission Street awaiting an opportunity to volunteer. Shortly after 5:30 p.m., the group of potential volunteers were greeted by a snack table and cardboard cutouts of the candidate, which many used to pose for selfies as a DJ played in the background.

Among those who queued up early was 31-year-old Raymond Huerta, who said he came because he was tired of politicians failing to live up to promises made during campaigns. He said he has no interest in voting for candidate Joe Biden, seeing him as more of the same.

<a>Garrick Wong</a>/SFBay Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders pauses during a speech at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

Huerta said:

“We wanted Barack Obama to be like Bernie. He could have been the most transcendent president we ever had.”

Cody England, a 29-year-old tech worker who lived in the neighborhood, said that while he is currently financially secure, he remembers leaner times growing up in Indiana. Awareness of that struggle is what led him to support Sanders’ progressive policy positions.

England said:

“A lot of the things Bernie is campaigning on would have made my life growing up a lot better.”

The two were indicative of the diverse crowd that included both toddlers and seniors, but volunteers and campaign staff appeared primarily to be under the age of 35, eager to be part of a movement.

Kim said:

“We don’t stand with Bernie Sanders because we like his values. We stand with Bernie because he stands for ours.”

Huerta echoed the sentiment, quoting an oft repeated Sanders refrain.

He said:

“It’s not about me, it’s about us.”

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