Casino backers, opponents make their cases, door by door – Boston Globe

Boston, MA 102514 Anti casino volunteers John Rogers (cq), left, of East Boston and Joseph Catricala (cq), rt, of Revere canvassed potential voters on High Street in Charlestown, Saturday, October 25 2014. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff) section: Metro slug: 29casinogroundgame reporter: Laura Crimaldi

In a Chelsea neighborhood of steep hills and big dogs, a persistent woman in a Wynn Resorts baseball cap knocked on a dozen doors until she found that elusive election-season prize, an undecided voter.

“Have you thought about the jobs a casino would bring?” asked 66-year-old LouAnne Zawodny, referring to the Wynn casino plan for her hometown of Everett. Some of those jobs would go to Chelsea residents, she suggested to the voter, maybe to residents of this very neighborhood.

Not far away, in Charlestown, resident Dianne Ludy recently heard a very different take on the promises of the casino industry, and whether they could be trusted.

Canvasser Stephen Eisele, a spokesman for the Repeal the Casino Deal campaign, spoke to Ludy about the industry’s expansion into his home state of Missouri.

“They say, ‘Oh, this is going to solve education funding forever,’ ” he said. “My tuition went up every year I was in state school there.”

For underfunded casino opponents who cannot afford a massive advertising campaign, house-to-house canvassing for votes is a necessity. And even with a multimillion dollar TV budget, procasino canvassers have been knocking on doors and hustling for votes.

“The most effective election motivator is still personal contact,” said Jerold Duquette, associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University and a Western Massachusetts resident. “We give people credit for taking the time to show up and to talk to us.”

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, 26, addressed more than a dozen canvass volunteers at the campaign headquarters of Repeal the Casino Deal recently, to lay down the ground rules for door-to-door campaigning.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

John Rogers (left) and Joseph Catricala took to High Street in Charlestown to talk to residents about supporting Question 3.

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