Ross Johnson photo Hillary Clinton campaigners Beage Atwater and Michael Stratton

Ross Johnson photo
Hillary Clinton campaigners Beage Atwater and Michael Stratton

Days before the Nevada caucuses, the event’s self-proclaimed “father” arrived in Ely to shore up support for his candidate, Hillary Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton knows the West, our people and our values,” native Coloradoan Michael Stratton said. “She deserves Nevada’s support on her way to winning the White House in November.”

Joining him was Beage Atwater, the former executive director of Democrats for the West and the Colorado Democrats. Together, the pair helped to change Nevada’s late primary elections to a caucus earlier in the season. Now Nevada is the first Western state to vote on presidential candidates.

Atwater previously served as a field director for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“We really wanted to work in the intermountain west,” she said. “Democrats were being neglected. Now Nevada issues are in the center of American living rooms.”

Precinct captain Derry Kiernan also joined them. Originally from Connecticut, Kiernan has experience doing rural Democratic precinct work in Iowa.

“We’re feeling optimistic about the rural counties and we’re executing our plan,” he said.

Stratton, Atwater, Kiernan and several other volunteers spent Tuesday canvassing Ely neighborhoods and checking in with registered Democrats, trying to get them to show up to the caucus. Atwater left personalized notes on the doors that went unanswered.

“It’s going to be close,” Stratton told one woman. “We could really use your support.”

Ely local John Charchalis spent the day calling Democrats to encourage them to attend.

“I support Hillary’s track record,” he said. “She has a grasp of international affairs from her work in the State Department. She’s more well-rounded, and she realizes that in Washington things don’t happen overnight.”

Stratton and Atwater spent Tuesday and Wednesday traveling around rural Nevada, gathering as much last minute support as possible.

“I’ve been taken with her since she was the first lady of Arkansas,” Stratton said.

Clinton’s August 2015 Rural America Plan focuses on four keys areas to strengthen rural America for the next generation. She promises to invest in rural economies by expanding access to equity capital, making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit and increasing funding to federal Department of Agriculture grants. She plans to increase funding for education for the next generation of farmers and ranchers and address increasing student debt that prevents youth from working in those industries. She also promises to promote development in cleaner renewable energy while protecting rural America’s natural resources, as well as to improve rural healthcare and education.

The Democratic caucus is Saturday, Feb. 20, and will be held locally at White Pine High School, where doors will be closed at noon..