Built purely from wood in a suburb is a modest house in Manchester New Hampshire (NH), one of Americaâ€™s 50 states.
Driving along a perfect infrastructure, in between a forest, the long winding road leads to a house belonging to Democratic Party major fund-raiser and chairperson of Stonyfield Farm in NH Gary Hirshberg.
Clasping sheets of white paper in his hands, he greeted and welcomed a group of 25 international journalists on an election night tour on NH funded by the US government.
The journalists are in the US to participate in election venues of Americaâ€™s unpredictable states in their voting patterns (commonly known in the US as swing States) before observing election day in the cities where each presidential candidate is headquartered (Boston for Mitt Romney and Chicago for Barack Obama).
In the house, pictures of Obama and other democrat politicians fill the walls and display tables as Hirshberg proudly points to his treasured moments carefully framed to preserve the memories.
Speaking with the journalists about his life story, it was evident that the 58-year-old successful international businessperson is passionate about politics, particularly the incumbent president and his Democratic Party.
Said Hirshberg: â€œIn 2008, Obama almost pulled out of the presidential race because of lack of funds. I got a phone call on the same and met Obama the following day. I knew the minute I met Barack that he was the guy.
â€œHe talked knowledgeably about generic food and climate change. It was clear to me he was my guy. Candidates come to me looking for a donation, to look for my vote and for me to speak in their favour because as a businessperson, my endorsement matters and makes a difference.â€
He claimed to have met Obama as a senator and hosted his wife Michelle Obama, and many other Democratic Party politicians, to various dinners.
Although he discredited Romneyâ€™s policies in his comparison of the two presidential contenders, Hirshberg admitted that this was the closest election in Americaâ€™s history and did not speak kindly of the exorbitant expenditures by the two campaigns.
Having raised about $2 million (about K6.4 billion) for this campaign not just for the presidency, but senators as well, he was optimistic that his favourite candidate will carry the day come Tuesday with the hope that Romneyâ€™s lack of specifics would lead to his downfall.
Although he admitted that Obama may not have lived up to his promise of fighting climate change, Hirshberg, like any other staunch political supporter, said he was a political realist who did not expect the president to do everything himself, let along peg the development as a tool against Obama.
Said Hirshberg: â€œFor me, policy is very important. My father and grandfather were shoe manufacturers and when the industry collapsed in the 1960s, it had a devastating impact on my family. This was the time I learnt about the importance of policy.
â€œI went to the university to study environmental science not by accident, but because I intended to show difference by uplifting the lives of farmers. I support 1 600 farmers and my business has grown over the years.â€
He said he was particularly appalled at the cost of this election, which he estimated cost a billion dollars each, and said it was not worth that much because the money could have been invested towards the fight against obesity, diabetes and cancer which, he said, are devastating America.
Hirshberg said many American were worn out by the entire election, particularly the long television adverts which he described as a sale rather than an intended political choice.
Married and a father of three, Hirshberg is chairperson, former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic yoghurt producer based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He has been with the company since 1983.
He was mentioned at the time as a possible 2008 Democratic candidate for the US Senate. In the early 1980s, Hirshberg joined the board of The Rural Education Center (TREC), the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned.
Previously, in addition to serving as a trustee of the farming school, he had served as executive director of the New Alchemy Institute, a research and education centre dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture and renewable energy.
In 2005, Hirshberg was named managing director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between Groupe Danone and Stonyfield Farm, with brands in Ireland, the UK and France.
A New Hampshire native, Hirshberg has received six honorary doctorates and won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership. He serves on several corporate and non-profit boards including Honest Tea, Sambazon, Peak Organic Brewing Company, Solera Capital, RAMP Sports, and Climate Counts. He is also chairperson and co-founder of Oâ€™Naturals, a chain of natural fast food restaurants.