By Saba Hamedy/BU Washington News Service
CHARLOTTE – “Dream big dreams.”
This was the inscription that now-President Obama wrote in 35-year-old Garth Corriveau’s copy of “Audacity of Hope” in February of 2007, just after Obama announced his candidacy for the president.
Corriveau, one of the 44 elected New Hampshire delegates for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, said it was Obama who got him “re-interested” in politics after he attended law school at the University of New Hampshire.
“I’d worked a little bit on political campaigns just after college [Middlebury] then I went to law school,” Corriveau, who serves as Manchester Ward 6 alderman, said in an interview.
“Then after law school, I just kind of discovered Barack Obama and he was thinking about running for president. I was very interested.”
And he’s been interested ever since.
On Labor Day, the day before convention festivities were scheduled to commence, the Manchester native joined fellow delegates for breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel, just outside of Charlotte.
Donning a blue dress shirt and a smile, the Manchester native showed enthusiasm for his first Democratic National Convention experience.
As an elected official in Manchester, Corriveau said he believes the biggest issue in this year’s election is the economy.
“Manchester is a diverse and very hardworking city and I think Manchester’s middle class has been hurting for a long time…But a lot of people feel that we’re all being asked to do more with less,” he said.
While many Republicans, including a good number in New Hampshire, might argue presidential candidate Mitt Romney is more qualified to stabilize the economy, Corriveau said Obama’s values appeal more to Manchester Democrats.
“It’s very important that we have a president who shares our values, who advocates an economy built around a strong vibrant middle class. I think those are basic values and those are Barack Obama’s values,” he said.
“Mitt Romney created a lot of wealth — he didn’t necessarily create a lot of jobs,” said Corriveau. “That’s a lot different than creating a strong vibrant economy with millions of jobs.”
Just a few weeks ago, when Obama flew into Manchester, Corriveau was there to greet him as he exited Air Force One.
“It was a very humbling experience to know that here’s this guy who will probably never know he helped change my life and now I get to greet him as president and me as an alderman,” said Corriveau. “He’s a powerful example to people like me and young people everywhere.”
Corriveau said he’s most excited to see the president, the first lady and Vice President Joe Biden for the final Democratic convention festivities on Thursday at the Bank of America Stadium with thousands of other Democrats.
“He’s our president and people around the world are very proud of him and I think he’s done his best and he’s doing a good job and we need that for four more years,” Corriveau added.
As the week progresses, New Hampshire delegates will hear from a variety of different of speakers, including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.