Earlier this month, Jessica H., a neighborhood team leader in DuPage County, introduced President Obama to supporters at the U.I.C. Forum in Chicago. After a week writing and revising her introduction speech and shopping for the perfect outfit, Jessica shared her story with about 600 attendees, including President Obama.
Jessica’s story begins when she was a little girl and she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Because she had a pre-existing condition, finding good health care was difficult for her family.
“My parents always had to make career decisions based upon the availability of good health insurance. This financial and mental stress continued into my adulthood when my husband and I had to make our own career choices. Thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, my family no longer has to have the mental burden of potential financial hardship hanging over our heads if one of us loses our job.”
After watching then-state Senator Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Jessica told her husband she would work for him if he ever ran for president. She knew that as president, Barack Obama would work hard to pass legislation helping people with situations similar to hers.
In 2007, when President Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield, Jessica and her family were there. She quickly became a volunteer for the campaign and travelled to Iowa to talk to caucus-goers.
“Each time we visited, people were more aware of Barack Obama and were learning that they could participate in the caucus process even if they had never done so before. It was such an amazing experience to go from telling people about a little-known senator to watching the multitudes file into their caucus locations that cold January night to put their support behind Barack Obama.”
Jessica then became a volunteer organizer in DuPage County. She helped recruit volunteers, ran phone banks, and organized groups of volunteers to canvass in Wisconsin on the weekends.
“The number of people I met going door-to-door who told me that they were casting their first-ever ballot for Barack Obama was both humbling and exhilarating.”
This time around, Jessica hopes to get even more people involved in the political process. By Election Day, she hopes to be a part of a cohesive team to re-elect President Obama.