One would expect to find the Johnson family at the grand opening of the Germantown Organizing for America field office. Volunteer team member Elaine Johnson was busily signing in the guests at the reception desk, while her mother-in-law Anna Johnson and her sister-in-law Tanya Johnson were busily showing attendees their presidential memorabilia. The three stressed that this office will help them do more neighborhood outreach.
The opening ceremony for OFA’s second Northwest Philadelphia field office was held at 322 W. Chelten Ave. on March 15 at 6 p.m. On hand were Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, OFA Field Director Alison Zelman, OFA Regional Field Director Philip Gaskin, and the Germantown neighborhood team leader David Schogel. The spirit there was as vibrant as the red, pale blue-grey, royal blue and deep navy that are the campaign’s signature colors.
“We are the Obama-ites,” Tanya Johnson of Overbrook Park said. “We began having house parties four years ago. We donated to the campaign and received these beautiful photographs of the first family. As Obama-ites we are interested in spreading the word about all the good things the president has done.”
Anna Johnson concurred. She said that the opening of the Germantown OFA office was only rivaled by the time she got to see first lady Michelle Obama up close and personal at Villanova University. For her the 1,000 square foot office in the historic section of Germantown represents progress.
“I grew up during the Great Depression,” said 84-year-old Anna Johnson. “I was there through Jim Crow. That’s why I can understand that this president saved us from another depression and yet they are not giving him credit”
Schogel hopes that with the new office, the 12 OFA PA offices in the commonwealth, he will be able to expand his team of volunteers. “This is the place where we are going to rally, do voter registration drives, boost the volunteers and phone bank all to get out the vote. This is a tremendous boost for us to have a place because it gives us space to do all this,” he said.
Among those who plan to be a mainstay among the Germantown team is Esther Solomon, a longtime Northwest Philadelphia resident. She volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 and is now back.
“I think we need him back in office so he can finish the job he started,” Solomon said. “He is one of the best presidents we have ever had in this country. This is such a nice office, and it’s good to have a nice place to volunteer. When you have nice (surroundings) it makes you want to hang around. So I plan to spend a lot of time here.”
Those attending the Germantown office opening were also privy to the premiere of “The Road We’ve Traveled” a 17-minute documentary about President Obama’s first three years in office. The short flick was produced by award-winning filmmaker and director P. Davis Guggenheim.
The Germantown office is the third office OFA PA office in Philadelphia. The OFA headquarters held its grand opening in Center City last October. The Northwest Philadelphia field office, 7171 Ogontz Ave. held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 15. Thus far, OFA PA has made over a half a million phone calls locally to voters and supporters, and has had more than 6,100 one-on-one conversations with people about the president’s accomplishments to aid his re-election efforts.
The Germantown office, like the Northwest Philadelphia field office, is open from Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.