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Jenny Felsen, graduate student instructor Kathryn Pearson, and Gary Li At the Dean headquarters, (left to right) Berkeley students Jenny Felsen, graduate student instructor Kathryn Pearson, and Gary Li

Report from New Hampshire 
Students on the primary trail

The Dean campaign: A cold start

Read all the dispatches >
About the New Hampshire project

During the coming week, the NewsCenter will feature coverage of the Jan. 27 New Hampshire presidential primary written by three Berkeley students working for the campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich.

The students are enrolled in UC Berkeley's Washington Program Office. Michael Goldstein, program director, says the New Hampshire primary provides students in the program with hands-on experience in politics, bridging the gap between what they learn in the classroom and the reality of hardball politics. Later, the students will write research papers on the presidential selection process, and present their findings at an April public forum.

– After waking up at 3:30 a.m. from a night of restless sleep, getting to the airport and through security, and waiting at the gate in Washington, D.C. for more than an hour, we descended into cold New Hampshire for our presidential primary adventure. The shining sun revealed Manchester’s scenic beauty. I stepped outside and discovered the cold was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

Two minivan rides and a quick lunch later, our group of seven Berkeley students had been dropped off and was ready to begin our internships. I would be joining the Howard Dean campaign.

I was beaming with excitement as we drove to Dean headquarters. As a longtime supporter, I was looking forward to what the day might bring. Maybe there would even be a chance to meet the governor? When Gary Li (another Dean intern from Cal) and I arrived at the center it was practically empty. Most Dean volunteers had gone to watch him speak.

I received my first assignment, to go with an older gentleman to deliver leaflets about the campaign to the doorsteps of undecided voters. Warmly dressed, I explored the city of Manchester. The little homes in the neighborhood where we went were charming. The gentleman who drove me was a former lawyer from New York who is now a welfare consultant. Talking to him, I expanded my knowledge of welfare implementation or the lack thereof.

Following leaflet delivery, I went back to Dean headquarters. For the next 4 1/2 hours Gary, about fifteen other interns/volunteers and I made calls to people throughout New Hampshire to alert them to the upcoming Thursday debate, and to try and secure as many definite Dean votes as possible. Exhausted from an extremely long day, I left campaign headquarters at 8:30 p.m. looking forward to a good night's sleep.

– Jenny Felsen

Jenny Felsen, a third-year Berkeley student, is a political science major. While enrolled in the Washington Program this semester, she will intern at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Last summer, she interned for Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA). She is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (Berkeley's Political Science Honor Society). Felsen's minor is in disability studies and she has mentored students through the Disabled Students Program.