As the campaign here in Virginia heats up, we’re launching our new organizer spotlight series, Virginia is for Organizers. For the first installment, we interviewed Jay Plant, Regional Field Director for Lower Hampton Roads.
Name: Jay Plant
Region: Lower Hampton Roads
Favorite food: Fried chicken and mashed potatoes
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld
Interesting fact: I was named after Jay Burson, a starting point guard for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the late 80s
Why are you organizing for Barack Obama?
Born and raised in small-town Ohio, I lived the typical American middle-class childhood. My family wasn’t rich, but we had everything we needed. As I got older, the local economy began to take a turn for the worse. Factories were closing and businesses were moving away, including Rubbermaid, a company my grandfather had worked for 30 years. Leading up to 2008, I was disillusioned with a government and a president who wasn't fighting for the middle class. I knew I wanted to do something to fight for what I believed in.
That’s why I joined the Obama campaign in 2008. It was clear that Obama stood for middle-class families like mine, and that he would continue to stand up for us in the White House. The Obama administration’s achievements over the past few years prove it: protecting Americans from excessive bank overdraft fees through credit card reform; expanding Pell Grants to help make college more affordable; and making sure people like my brother can stay on their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26 because of the Affordable Care Act.
We’ve made great progress, but the job is not done. We need to ensure this nation remains on the path to full recovery, so that's why I continue to organize.
What’s your organizing style?
When it comes to organizing, for me, it’s all about an in-it-to-win-it competitive sensibility, while still keeping it fun. In Lower Hampton Roads, my organizers keep on their toes with friendly voter registration competitions against other regions of Virginia, adding an element of fun and friendly rivalry. Organizing can be tough work, so whenever possible I also like to take time with volunteers to celebrate a great day of making calls or registering voters.
Why should someone in the Hampton Roads region come out to volunteer?
Volunteering in our area means an opportunity to make a difference on a local level here in Hampton Roads, and on the national level by making sure the campaign wins Virginia. Too many of our local veterans are not getting the proper care they deserve, and/or are not finding good jobs to support their families. Our economic recovery is further slowed by crumbling infrastructure, making it tougher to attract business here. To make the rebuilding of the middle class possible, we need a leader with a proven record of standing up for the middle class: President Obama. We need volunteers to help make that happen, to finish what we started, and to make sure the middle class comes out of this stronger than ever. Virginia simply cannot wait.