When I was 17, I was barely able to say the word “campaign.” Matthew Whitfield has already worked on his generation’s most important political campaign, and the Robert E. Lee senior is really just getting started.
“We thought we could make a difference if we worked at it, and it started snowballing from there,” said Whitfield, who helped found the Young Democrats club at Lee and has aided in the effort to get other Young Dems groups going at high schools across the Greater Augusta area.
Whitfield also served as a field organizer for the Sam Rasoul congressional campaign last summer and found time to serve as a volunteer for the Barack Obama campaign working shifts out of the Downtown Staunton Obama headquarters.
“They gave me five phone numbers to call and said, Go at it,” Whitfield said. “I had a whole bunch of packets, and what happened was I just networked all the local high schools together. So wherever I was canvassing, I ended up getting the high school to help. We canvassed all the houses they wanted us to do in Staunton with just high-school students. We did all of Augusta County lit-dropping with high-school students,” Whitfield said.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Whitfield is a national scholarship winner. He got the news in December that he had been named one of the two Virginia winners in the United States Senate Youth Program scholarship contest, which gives him $5,000 toward college and a week in Washington in March that includes scheduled face time with Virginia senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb and … yes, President Barack Obama himself.
“It’s on the schedule, at least,” said Whitfield.
– Story by Chris Graham