Oklahoma Superdelegate Pledges Support For Obama

This story was written by Alex Gerszewski, Oklahoma Daily
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Daily is running profiles on all 10 Oklahoma superdelegates. The series was created in conjunction with a class in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In her political career, Kitti Asberry began at the grassroots level before moving up to serve as the vice-chairwoman for the Oklahoma Democratic Party and a superdelegate.

Asberry works under state Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes, who is new to the position.

"I was told coming in that the vice-chair doesn't really do much." Holmes said. "However, Kitti is always accessible and really helpful."

Asberry said she works with Holmes to garner support for the Democratic Party across Oklahoma and fills in for him if he is unavailable.

Although Holmes has yet to choose a presidential candidate to represent, Asberry has pledged her support in the race for the Democratic nomination for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

"I am an Obama mama, 100 percent," she said.

Asberry said she made the decision to support Obama because of an evolution she sees happening in American attitudes. Obama's youth, energy and multicultural background have been key reasons for the spike at the election polls, she said.

"If you look at the [election] poll numbers from 2004 versus where we are now, you are talking a difference of 600,000 people who voted," Asberry said.

Though superdelegates are allowed to switch candidates after making their initial decision, Asberry said she has no intention of doing that.

"I'm not going to change because I view myself as a leader, and to continue to be the leader I see myself as, I have to stick with one [candidate]," she said.

Asberry now fills her time with volunteer work. She has worked for the American Cancer Society for 10 years as the planning coordinator for Relay for Life. She also volunteers for the YWCA as a board member and works for the American Heart Association.

"There are so many people that need help," she said. "I am available and have the time, so I will help as many people as I can."

Asberry does not limit herself to volunteer work, however - she has been involved in politics since the mid '90s, when she worked as a precinct officer in grassroots campaigns.

Asberry said the vice-chair position, like her volunteer work, is unpaid, but the time commitment makes her work with the Democratic Party completely different.

"It's like a full-time job," she said. "You have to really love it to do it."

Asberry said although she enjoys her current position, her favorite position was working as the Oklahoma County chairwoman from 2001 to 2007, because she had the authority to make tough decisions.

"There were times when you have to stand up or stand down and execute your right as the leader," she said. "I could stop everything and say, 'OK, we are going to come to a decision.'"

Asberry said she relates to Obama because of they both gained their positions the same way: from the bottom up. She said although she misses having the final say on tough decisions, she still will make an important choice that will greatly affect the next presidential election.
© 2008 Oklahoma Daily via U-WIRE
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