Organizing for Change and Putting Change in Your Pocket
by JohnGaramendi, Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:46:12 PM EDT
Today I'll be joining Vice President Joe Biden in San Diego to promote job growth in California. At a time when California's unemployment rate is at 11.2 percent, the highest rate on record, it's certainly premature to declare that happy days are here again. But in this time of economic uncertainty, it's nice to know that our leadership in Washington is in tune with the needs of everyday Californians.
President Barack Obama's stimulus package wisely addresses both short term needs and long term goals in a way that prepares our country for an internationally competitive, green by necessity economy. The stimulus package passed in February includes $144 billion for state and local fiscal relief, $53 billion for priority education spending, $111 billion for infrastructure and science projects, $43 billion for energy needs, $81 billion in funds to help protect the vulnerable, and $288 billion in targeted tax cuts. The package also calls for doubling our renewable energy production in three years.
In California alone, it will create or save 396,000 jobs. Job-creating projects include $1.5 million for alternative energy efficiency grants for business and workforce housing in Livermore, $500,000 for affordable housing in Palm Desert, $200 million for flood levy improvements in Natomas, and $250,000 for storm water capture in Pasadena.
You are over the flip...
So how did we get here? In less than 100 days, facing strong shortsighted opposition, President Obama managed to push through an ambitious and historical package that may very well have prevented global financial ruin. There are a lot of heroes in this story, but one that must not be neglected is... you.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama's voluminous army of volunteers, organized around Obama for America's my.barackobama.com platform, helped the President overcome impressive challengers. Perhaps more importantly, President Obama's deeply committed organizers also helped bring more and better Democrats to Washington.
But as then-Senator Obama explained at a campaign stop during the election, "This election is not about Barack Obama. This election is about you."
Electing President Obama was only the first step required to change America. His agenda, widely embraced by a country eager for a new direction, still faces roadblocks and hurdles in Washington, and that's where Organizing for America was born.
Recognizing the need to keep volunteers involved in the movement to bring needed meaningful change to Washington, the Democratic National Committee utilized my.barackobama.com to, as they explain, "move the debate out of the halls of Washington and into the main streets of America. In living rooms, coffee shops, diners, front porches, and community centers, friends talking to friends and neighbors talking to neighbors about the current issues of the day will lead our elected officials in Washington to understand that delaying or obstructing the change we fought for on the campaign is not an option."
Their first major push was to help pass the President's economic recovery package, and by most accounts, their efforts to promote the stimulus legislation were a rousing success. OFA created an interactive map of where stimulus funds were being distributed, allowing everyday Americans to bypass the media filter and partisan spin and see for themselves the value of the stimulus package for their state. OFA also gathered over 30,000 questions about the stimulus package, a representative sample of which DNC chair Tim Kaine responded to in a video posted on YouTube and sent to all OFA supporters. Over 3,500 house meetings were organized in 429 of 435 Congressional districts, with over 30,000 stories collected about how today's economic crisis impacts families and communities across this country. You can submit your own story here.
Going forward, OFA needs as much support as possible to make sure we can continue to rebuild this country. I encourage you to get involved and build the grassroots infrastructure that will ensure our ideals and values remain ascendant for decades to come. As a proud resident of the Golden State, I welcome this new era of promise, this new Golden Age of change.