As President Obama talked about his blueprint for an America built to last in his State of the Union address and trip across the country this week, Sam, a neighborhood team leader from Des Moines, Iowa, was struck by what’s at stake:
“The most important thing I heard from the President was a really plain-language explanation that the nation has commitments to things that are important and expensive—the military, education—and they've got to be paid for. Are we going to let the middle class take the burden of higher taxes to pay for those things? Or is there a fairer way for those things to be paid for?”
Sam and his fellow volunteers hosted a State of the Union watch party on Tuesday night, where 80 supporters got together to watch the President set out his agenda for the year ahead.
“It was great,” said Kim, a co-host of the event. “Leading up to his speech, we went around the room and [asked], ‘What has the President done that has helped you?’ We had people who were construction workers who [had been] out of jobs, and the stimulus put them back to work. People who, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, are now insured, their children are insured. People who didn’t know each other stood up in a room full of strangers and said what the President did that personally resonated with them and affected their lives.”
“The State of the Union was the biggest thing we’ve had going on,” adds Megan, a student. “A lot of people haven’t volunteered before or haven’t volunteered for a really long time, so the neighborhood setting and parties like that are a lot more comfortable for them. People love to talk about Barack and ask questions … and it’s a great way to keep them involved.”
On Wednesday, the President spoke at a factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa about his plan for insourcing American jobs and supporting companies that build things right here at home. Meghan, Kim, and Sam were there in the audience to hear him speak:
“I think he did a great job [in Cedar Rapids], focusing on [manufacturing] jobs and technology and innovation,” Megan said. “In Des Moines I feel like we’re a little bit more sheltered, and Iowa is certainly not as bad off as other states in the nation. But the economy and jobs are still big issues here, and people are still struggling to make ends meet with the rising cost of living.”
Over the next nine months, the Des Moines team is going to do everything they can to make sure President Obama has the chance to put his jobs plan into action:
“Next week, Monday and Wednesday, we’re at our phonebank again, where we’ve been every Monday and Wednesday since September, and we are going to do some persuasion calls,” explains Kim. “It’s amazing, the buzz coming off our caucus, that Obama’s come here, the State of the Union—and he’s showing us how important [Iowa] is. And that’s all we’re grateful for!”
If you’re fired up about what you heard from President Obama over the last couple days, sign up and get involved in this campaign—Kim, Sam, and Megan can’t do it alone.