On a rainy Tuesday night in Urbandale, Iowa, people gathered in a small room, introducing themselves and meeting up with old friends. They brought along their kids and spouses and started talking about ways they could improve their neighborhoods. It was just one of many grassroots planning sessions being held all over the country this June and July.
A GPS is an opportunity for neighbors to meet one another and agree on a direction for their efforts to strengthen their community and to re-elect President Obama. Supporters use the sessions to build neighborhood teams, make plans for voter contact, and discuss how best to organize their community for 2012.
At Tuesday night’s GPS, we started with introductions. Everyone went around the room and said their name, where they were from, and which of the President's accomplishments means the most to them. People mentioned everything from health care reform and the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" to protecting the American auto industry and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Andy B. recognized all of these as significant accomplishments, but he shared a different favorite:
“I believe President Obama’s most important accomplishment is less tangible. He has restored faith in our government.”
We broke into smaller groups based on neighborhoods and discussed ways to support the President. Bev S. shared her thoughts, saying it was “great to get together and hear people come up with different ideas for different communities.” Susan P. agreed, telling me after the event how glad she was to meet supporters in her area. “I know I’m not alone now.”
Grassroots planning sessions are being held in communities all over the country. If you haven’t attended one yet, you can find one near you here.