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Smith Democrats Help Make History

Several members of Smith College Democrats helped make history recently when they traveled to New Orleans to help with the campaign of Kathleen Blanco, the newly elected governor of Louisiana and the first woman to be elected to that office.

Blanco became governor after winning 52 percent of the 1.4 million votes cast during a runoff election last Saturday.

With 11 students making the trip to participate in the College Democrats National Campaign Invasion, Smith College represented the largest contingent from any college in Massachusetts. The Smith Democrats joined about 200 other college students in knocking on doors, calling voters and other grassroots activities.

In addition to helping elect the state’s first female governor, the participants picked up some valuable knowledge for future events, said Lauren Wolfe, president of Smith Democrats. “We stayed in a hotel with hundreds of other college students from across the country,” she said. “It gave us a great opportunity to learn campaign tactics, to network with people around the country and to gear up for 2004.”

The Louisiana event followed last year’s College Democrat National Invasion in South Dakota, in which students helped elect Governor Michael Rounds there.

The Smith Democrats, an active and historic group on campus, maintain a busy schedule of events. Last month, members coordinated meetings with Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood of America, and Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, to talk about the importance of young women’s activism, says Wolfe. Currently, the group is fundraising for Operation Uplink, a program run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars that provides troops overseas with telephone cards. On November 24, they plan to meet with Massachusetts State Representative Ellen Story. And of course, come January, a sizable contingent of Smith politicians will drive to New Hampshire for the presidential primaries there, says Wolfe.

Smith College Democrats boasts a notable list of alumnae, including Betty Friedan ’42, Gloria Steinem ’56, Molly Ivins ’66, and Celinda Lake ’75, to name a few.

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