From persistence to flexibility, neighborhood team leader Paula offers an inside look at what it takes to be a volunteer with President Obama's re-election campaign.
When Almayna’s 24-year-old daughter graduated from college two years ago, she was dropped from the family’s health insurance policy. She found part-time work at a TV station in Georgia, but the job was without benefits. Then, she got sick. It was a sinus condition that required surgery she couldn’t afford. Almayna knew her daughter deserved better.
“It angered me when they dropped her. What was her crime? She did what she was supposed to do. She graduated with great grades and finished in four years. She went to summer school and took an extra load of classes to complete college on time. And she was immediately dropped from our insurance as a reward.”
After President Obama's Affordable Care Act passed, Almayna’s daughter was able to get back onto her parents’ health insurance and will be covered until she turns 26.
“When I told her about President Obama’s plan, she was excited. She immediately started going back to the doctor because she was able to do it without worrying about how to pay. And I was so happy I could add her because I had been putting off buying her medication."
Almayna, who is a middle school teacher, says she’s more productive at work now that she knows her daughter will get the care she needs.
“It gives me peace of mind, because who has that kind of money saved up? I would have had to go into my retirement account for the surgery, or not pay a phone bill to keep up with the monthly medications required. You need that sense of security so that if something gets out of control, there’s something there to help you get through it financially. It means we won’t have to make a choice between taking care of a health issue and going without it.”
The Affordable Care Act has helped 2.5 million young people get health insurance. To see how reform is helping people like you, check out this infographic and share it with your friends.
Beyond the titles, it's easy to forget sometimes that our President and First Lady are, when it comes down to it, regular people like us.
So I'd encourage you right now to enter our contest to do what few people will ever get to do—not just have dinner with the President and First Lady of the United States—but have dinner with Barack and Michelle Obama.
This dinner isn't just some sweepstakes—it's also a way to help build this campaign just days before our Republican opponents start competing in primaries and caucuses, and inevitably step up their attacks on the President and his record.
Make sure to enter before the deadline, and to spread the word to a friend or two—if someone you tell about this opportunity ends up winning, I'd guess you'd be at the top of their guest list.
Sometimes it helps to get advice straight from a pro. Riley, a college freshman in Iowa, is on his way to becoming an expert grassroots fundraiser. Even though he’s currently taking courses for three different majors—politics, international studies, and Spanish—and volunteering for his local field office in Dubuque, he still finds time to ask people to contribute to his page.
“When I reach out to people to ask them to donate, I try to make the campaign relatable for them. I bring up an issue that’s important to that person, or to the community, just to make sure they know why the election matters. You have to give people a reason to donate. These days, people have to have a good reason to give even five dollars.”
Things are busy in the Dubuque office at the moment, with the Iowa caucuses less than three weeks away. Volunteers and organizers are making phone calls, knocking on doors, and raising money. Here’s why Riley is doing a bit of all three:
“There are too many reasons to be involved this campaign—it’s hard to pick just one. But I think that rebuilding the middle class is such a major issue right now. It matters to everyone.”
Ready to join Riley and start your own grassroots fundraising campaign? All you need to do is set up your page and you’re good to start.
And if you need some inspiration, check out these tips to get the ball rolling.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults now have health insurance. Emily, a college student from Nebraska, explains how President Obama's work for health care reform affects her life every day—and how it's shaped the career she wants to pursue. Watch the video, then share it with your friends and family.
As the House prepares to vote tonight on extending President Obama’s payroll tax cut, here’s a reminder from President Obama about why it’s so important to so many families. Watch the video, then tell Congress this is no time to be raising taxes on the middle class.
As the last American troops head home from Iraq, Marianne, a retired teacher in New York, is thinking about her students.
"To me, approaching the end of the war means that my students aren't going off to die in harm's way. I've already lost two students in Iraq and had to comfort younger siblings after their deaths. I had former students who were deployed overseas with the Marines. I hope I will get to see them come home safe and sound to join their families."
The next step, says Marianne, is to continue supporting veterans when they return.
"I'm delighted we're bringing them home, but we need to make sure they have jobs when they get here. I'm very worried about that, as we all should be. Our veterans are some of the bravest people in this country—they're out there protecting us, doing a job many people don't want to do, and we owe them more than gratitude once they're home. We need to keep pushing for that."
While she works to spread the word about the need for Congress to level the playing field for all Americans, including returning servicemembers and military families, Marianne draws on her experience in the civil rights movement.
"Standing up for progress isn't new for me," she explains. "I was a Freedom Rider, I was active in the women's movement, the gay rights movement, the antiwar protests, you name it. I remember crying my eyes out when President Obama was elected because it was such a dream come true for all of us. So we have to keep doing now what we did then. We have to get involved, because one person stepping up can push another person to get involved, and they can encourage two more people, and on and on. It's like being on a bus—you see someone who has a radio playing too loudly, and you can all sit there and say nothing and just get angrier and angrier. But if one person says, 'Turn it down, please,' then everyone else says, 'Yeah, come on,' and guess what? They turn it down.
"That's what I'm hoping for, and it's why we need to re-elect President Obama. He keeps his promises, and he listens to us. We need more of a level playing field, with jobs for everybody who wants one. Something has to be done about that—we need to bring attention to that problem because that's the way it works. It worked in the 1960s—we showed that rights had to be fought for, and then what happens is politics change. They change to fit what the people want, but you have to keep moving forward at the same time as you're looking back. You can't just sit on your rear end and hope for the best."
Join supporters like Marianne by letting us know what this moment means to you—and what you're hoping to see in the next four years.
Thank you, President Obama, for reaching out to Americans and helping them understand what your goals and plans are for making our country healthy and right again—please don't give up or let the Republicans stop your efforts. I'm very proud you're our president and support you every way I can. I'm 76, living on Social Security and cannot donate much (I'm up to $8.00 so far!), but if I have any funds leftover after everything else is satisfied each month, I'll send what I can. At least $1.00 is better than a sharp stick in the eye (old saying—old enough that even I don't know where it came from). God bless you and your family, President Obama, and God bless the United States of America.
President Obama sent a message this morning on the end of the war in Iraq:
Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.
As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.
Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.
Speaking from the White House this afternoon, President Obama announced that Congress has agreed to extend the middle-class payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance into next year. The President said:
At a time when so many Americans are working harder and harder just to keep up, the extra $1,000 or so that the average family would get from this tax cut makes a real difference when you’re trying to buy groceries or pay the bills, make a mortgage or make a repair. And all kinds of independent economists agree—the number one challenge facing businesses right now is a lack of demand from consumers, which is why more people spending money means companies that are more successful and more able to hire more workers.
Today, Congress has finally agreed to extend this middle-class tax cut into next year. And they’ve also agreed to another part of my jobs plan, extending unemployment insurance for millions of Americans who are out there trying as hard as they can to find a job. This is spending money that also benefits families and businesses and the entire economy. And it’s a lifeline that would have been lost for more than 2 1/2 million people in the first two months of next year if Congress had not acted.
So I'm very pleased to see the work that the Senate has done. While this agreement is for two months, it is my expectation—in fact it would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year. It should be a formality. And hopefully it’s done with as little drama as possible when they get back in January.