This is the first in a new OFA-Iowa blog series where we’ll highlight each of our 8 office “turfs” across Iowa. Today we’ll kick things off in Cedar Rapids, which was the center of the Iowa political world just a few weeks ago.
In September, just as we’d opened the doors to our Cedar Rapids office, Iowa was thrown a political curveball. Due to the retirement of a long-time state senator, a special election was called that would determine whether the Iowa Senate would maintain its Democratic majority.
With the help of our local Iowa staff, OFA Neighborhood teams, and other groups on the ground in Linn County, we won the seat, maintained our majority, and welcomed Liz Mathis as the newest state senator from District 18. It turned out to be an incredible opportunity for our local volunteer leaders to continue to grow and strengthen their neighborhood teams for the upcoming first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus!
Helane G., one of the local caucus team leaders, has been involved with the OFA team in Linn County since the early days of then-Senator Obama’s campaign in 2007 and understands the importance of team based organizing.
The team model is a really well-organized system where every member of the organization, from the Regional Field Director to the Neighborhood Team Leaders all the way to the local volunteer who comes in to clean the office once a week, has a crucial role to play in tightly-knit responsibilities.
Even though our caucus team leaders like Helane were already in full-swing building their teams for the January 3rd caucus, there was still a sense of urgency due to the importance of the issues at stake during this special election. Knowing what a Republican controlled House, Senate, and Governorship would mean for the state of Iowa and the President’s re-election campaign, Linn County’s Caucus Team Leaders agreed to pull double duty. Teams worked tirelessly to make thousands of phone calls to collect caucus commitments for President Obama and recruit canvassers for the Democratic candidate, Liz Mathis.
Ronni M., the field organizer for her hometown of Cedar Rapids, offered her thoughts about why these teams were so motivated to work and play such an important role in winning this incredibly important special election.
Ultimately, our teams and volunteers were motivated to work for Liz Mathis because they know she shares the same progressive vision for our future as President Obama. They both believe in restoring middle class security, creating an economic climate in which hard work and responsibility pay and ensuring our children have access to world-class public education. That vision – whether at the national or local level – is one worth fighting for.
Their work in Linn County isn’t over. They, like other teams across Iowa, have been busy planning local caucus house parties. When Ronni was asked to describe what it’s like working with this group of volunteers, she offered this:
The amazing thing about working in the field is that nothing ever turns out the way we plan it on paper. While each of my teams is built around the same organizing model, each team and day looks different. But the one constant is that our teams are doing brilliant work!