Monday, May 4, 2009

Organizing for America Listening Tour visits Screven (Wayne County)

Nearly 60 concerned citizens from 10 counties gathered in Screven Friday for the Organizing for America Listening Tour.

In recent months, leaders of President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign decided to transform their organization into an ongoing advocacy movement, Organizing for America.

OFA’s goals are to support the president’s agenda and “[empower] people to have an impact in their own communities.”

Lee Goodall, OFA’s Georgia director, and Jeff Ingram, the state field director, spoke to the assembled activists about the organization.

“I wanted to work with Organizing for America … because it is a continuation of what we all began last year,” Goodall said.

“We have … a president that’s going to listen to the concerns and the issues that affect people like us.”

Local volunteer Jeana Brown said that the participants in the meeting at Grace Community Center included city and county commissioners from several counties, business owners, campaign committee members, and many newcomers to the movement.

“There were some independents there—that was very nice,” Brown said.

“The only thing I do regret is there just weren’t many young people there.”

Goodall asked audience members why they had come. One man said that he felt that Georgia Democrats lose elections because they are insufficiently organized.


Another expressed dismay at the concentrated opposition Obama has faced since the election, and he suggested that issues such as which international leaders the president greets and abortion concerns are being used to distract the electorate from the economic meltdown.

“We have two priorities: … organizing support for President Obama’s priorities,” Goodall said, “and No. 2 is building grassroots support, … making sure our methods of advocacy are much more fine-tuned than they have been.”

OFA is a project of the Democratic National Committee, but Ingram said the organization is not designed to be merely an arm of the party but to appeal to voters of all political affiliations who supported and currently support Obama.

“We’re looking to set up support and advocacy for the president’s policies and agenda,” Ingram said.

“It’s very [necessary] that we leave the door open to support from people from all backgrounds, whether you categorize that by race, gender or party background.”

Brown said the Community Center turned out to be a very good location for the regional meeting.

“We’re very appreciative to Screven for allowing us to hold the meeting out there,” she said.

“Screven had the best turnout, alongside Savannah. They had five stops, but Savannah and Screven have had the biggest turnout on the [Georgia] coast.”



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