Keeping the home fires Berning! Sanders opens campaign office in Gowanus • Brooklyn Paper

Keeping the home fires Berning! Sanders opens campaign office in Gowanus

Feelin’ the bern: Rachel Brown Mc-Loughlin and Steven Labreu have been volunteering for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign by registering people to vote and spreading Bernie’s word.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Gowanus is feeling the Bern — and it isn’t from a Canal-related rash!

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign opened its new New York campaign office in an Eighth Street warehouse on Saturday, throwing with a big block party that attracted hundreds of fans who refuse to throw in the towel on the Kings County-born pol’s run for the oval office.

“It was very motivating,” said Rachel Brown-McLoughlin, a Long Islander who sported a “Bernie is Bae” shirt for the party outside Sanders’ new office on Eighth Street and Third Avenue. “The whole point was we’re still in this.”

Kyp Malone from Brooklyn band TV on the Radio strummed his guitar while supporters signed up for volunteer shifts and donned Bernie garb and sang Bernie-themed songs to proclaim their ballot for the Democratic hopeful, who grew up in Flatbush and owes his famed running form to his time running track for James Madison High School in Madison.

Sanders didn’t show up, as he was campaigning in Oregon instead, but some other area pols came out to stump for the socialist contender.

“Bernie Sanders stands up for my people,” said Councilman Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick), the only Council member to publicly pledge a vote to Sanders. “I represent East New York and Bushwick, some of the poorest neighborhoods in the state of New York and when Bernie speaks, he speaks for us, for the people that live here.”

Volunteers in the warehouse between Second and Third avenues will hit the phones to spread Bernie’s message to voters ahead of the April 19 New York primary, and Brown-McLoughlin says that folks shouldn’t be so quick to concede the Empire State to Hillary Clinton, even though she is a former New York senator and stationed her entire campaign out of Brooklyn Heights.

“The media is saying that New York is a Hillary state,” she said. “From everything we’ve seen volunteering, there’s a huge amount of support for Bernie.”

Sanders in February challenged Clinton a debate on Kings County turf, offering a mid-April date for the face-off, and threw down the gauntlet again on Sunday — though he expanded the potential venue to anywhere in the state. But his fans say it needs to happen in his home borough so he can show off his Brooklyn bona fides.

“It would be awesome to have Bernie back in Brooklyn,” said Steven Labreu, another Long Islander, who has been volunteering for the campaign. “He stands up to people and has this very New York attitude that he doesn’t really take any BS from anyone, it would be incredible for people to see that.”

There are currently no New York debates scheduled ahead of the primary, although the Democratic Party website lists face-offs in April and May as “to be determined.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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