In April, Barack Obama moved into the Suniland Shopping Center next to Wagons West. Not only that, Caroline Kennedy was one of the first people to visit. Yes, the re-election campaign specifically chose Pinecrest for one of its three Miami area offices in this critical swing state.
Beyond the red, white and blue bunting and hundreds of handmade signs, I was curious to see what happens beyond the storefront. Once inside, I met one of the campaign volunteers.
A smiling and energetic Hailey, age 18, (who’s last name is withheld at the request of the campaign) is on summer break from the University of Florida and it’s easy to see why she became one of the dozens of volunteers at this office. “I’m following in my father’s footsteps who volunteers here. My whole family are big supporters and I wanted to be involved.”
She explained that the location was strategic in making sure those in Miami-Dade were properly registered to vote and well educated on Obama policies. The hope is that with making personal calls and welcoming people in to ask questions that they can make a difference. The office is also a base for neighborhood canvas groups. “We do whatever we can to register people.” Seven days a week there is a constant activity of people coming and going.
On the Sunday I visited, there was a palpable buzz among the 20 or so people lined up for free tickets to see the First Lady in Miami Lakes on July 10. “The energy just feeds on itself,” says Hailey. No doubt this place will keep buzzing through Election Day.