The “service” component

One of the ways in which candidate Barack Obama connects with a certain set of voters is the emphasis in his campaign on service. 

John Edwards also asked his supporters to volunteer their time on projects that would improve their communities; it was a major part of his announcement tour in late December, 2006.  His campaign established a "One Corps" organization to sign up volunteers, and Edwards said this of the effort: "I don’t want us to stand by and wait for the next president…We want to begin taking responsibility and taking action now.  We want to start doing things now to make this country better."

Obama was the other candidate in the Caucus season who spent time emphasizing volunteerism and

Earlier this month, the Obama camp sent out an email to Midwesterners who were Obama backers, urging them to volunteer to help with the flood fight and the flood clean-up.  Now, the new Iowa state director for Obama has sent out an email, urging Obama’s Iowa supporters to work for others this weekend.  The email concludes with an invitation to attend "house parties" on Sunday to meet other Obama supporters.  Perhaps the people sitting on a couch in someone’s living room on Sunday will be people who first met one another on Saturday, working to clean up a flooded home or business in their community.

It’s another component of the social networking on the Internet that Obama’s campaign figured out.

Here’s the Obama email, sent under the name of Jackie Norris — Obama’s Iowa state director.

On behalf of the entire Obama campaign, I would like to offer my sympathies and best wishes to all those who were affected by the devastating floods.

Many of us here on the campaign have seen first-hand the damage brought by the storms, and we understand how it has impacted daily life across our state.

This Saturday, Obama volunteers and staff will be reaching out to flood-affected communities across Iowa who need our help.

We’ve put together a special resources page where you can find volunteer opportunities to help communities that have been hardest hit. You can also find out how to support the Red Cross’s efforts in Iowa.

Find more information on volunteer events and how you can help with flood relief now: 

On Sunday, June 29th, we’ll be continuing our volunteer activities when Obama supporters across the state host Unite for Change house meetings.

These supporters will be opening their homes and reaching out to Democrats who supported other candidates in the primary, as well as Independents and even Republicans who are hungry for change.

House meetings are a great way to get to know your fellow supporters and help build a united volunteer organization that will extend all across the country.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with us since the beginning or if you’re just tuning into the process now — our goal is to reach out to anyone who is tired of the politics of the past and looking for new solutions to the challenges we’re facing.

…As we continue to recover from the flood damage, the Obama for America campaign is committed to doing everything we can to help.

By recognizing the stake we have in each other and uniting our efforts, we can rebuild our communities. By coming together and building each other up, we can create a movement for change that will sweep America this fall.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to get involved this weekend.

Thank you,


Jackie Norris
Iowa State Director
Obama for America

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.