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Bernie Sanders' Brooklyn headquarters: Gowanus office is 'heart and soul' of New York operations

Bernie Sanders is “campaigning like a Brooklynite” right here in New York City.

Last month, the Sanders campaign opened its New York state headquarters on Eighth Street in Gowanus. amNewYork stopped by on April 9 for a tour of the office, where we spoke with national press secretary Symone Sanders (no relation) about the campaign, the presidential hopeful and the way his Brooklyn upbringing has shaped his politics.

The unassuming headquarters are marked by a few “Bernie 2016” posters and banners on the gate and building’s exterior.

Inside, more than a dozen people worked on laptops, surrounded by campaign art and newspaper clippings – including two amNewYork covers – that are posted on the walls. Bagels aplenty, Temp Tee cream cheese, Skittles and Twizzlers were among the snacks up for grabs for hungry volunteers, many of whom spend most of their time canvassing in New York’s streets, Symone Sanders said.

The no-frills office is
Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

The no-frills office is "the heart and soul of what happens here in New York," Symone Sanders said. From here, the staff sends volunteers out to canvas all day every day. The team also runs a phone bank and press operations from the headquarters.

The Gowanus space was the first Sanders campaign
Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

The Gowanus space was the first Sanders campaign office to open in New York City, though others have since opened in Flatbush and Harlem. It's not clear which will remain open after the April 19 primary.

Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

"We're not leaving any votes on the table here in New York," she said, explaining that the team is "taking it right to the streets" to earn the support of New Yorkers. An Emerson College poll, released on April 8, found that Sanders has gained 15 points in the New York primary race since the last poll, released March 16. Hillary Clinton still leads in the latest poll, with 56 points compared to the Vermont senator's 38 points.

"We have a history of coming from behind, closing those gaps and sometimes pulling out a win," Symone Sanders said.

Symone Sanders also touched on Clinton campaign aide
Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

Symone Sanders also touched on Clinton campaign aide Joel Benenson's remark of a few weeks ago that Bernie Sanders was "going to campaign like a Brooklynite" while Clinton would "campaign like a senator."

"That's right, we're gonna campaign like Brooklynites," Symone Sanders said. "We're not leaving anything up for grabs, and we're going old-school, guerrilla-style politics, and we're trying to win this thing."

Voter turnout, she said, is key to the
Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

Voter turnout, she said, is key to the Vermont senator's success in this race. "New York is the center of American politics right now . . . we need young people, old people, men and women, gay, straight, black, white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, and otherwise, to come out and vote."

Symone Sanders, above, said the presidential hopeful is
Photo Credit: Jamie Reysen

Symone Sanders, above, said the presidential hopeful is a proud New Yorker and "the most Brooklyn of anybody in this race."

Bernie Sanders, the son of a Polish immigrant, was raised in Midwood, and his family didn't have much growing up; this is part of what shaped his views, particularly on economic inequality and the importance of opportunity for hardworking families, Symone Sanders said.

"Sen. Sanders is speaking directly from the knowledge that he has of his upbringing, and I think that makes it authentic, that makes it real, that's the reason voters can connect with him . . . because Sen. Sanders is telling it like it is, and he's being very authentic, and he's standing up for what he believes in."


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