For our latest "Better Know A Turf" entry we're giving you a look into the Iowa caucuses from the perspective of someone who's never participated in this unique process. Lauren, the local field organizer, may be new to Iowa, but she's quickly formed realtionships throughout Black Hawk County. Because of the groundwork she and volunteers are laying now, they're sure to have this community standing strong for President Obama at the caucuses and continue building their local teams for a successful November 2012.
Name: Lauren Jones
Job Title: Field Organizer – Black Hawk County
Hometown: Merrillville, Indiana
Q1. What’s the most unique thing about organizing for the Iowa caucus?
Organizing around the Iowa caucuses has been so electrifying and such a big learning curve for me. I've been introduced to the whole process and the work that goes into it. The one thing I love about the Iowa caucus and what it represents to so many Iowa residents is that it's the most patriotic event a person can attend. Physically standing up for your candidate in the midst of your peers, colleagues and neighbors and saying "this is who I believe in" is courageous. It’s also what I have found to be the most unique attribute about caucusing.
Q2. How would you describe the volunteers and neighborhood teams you’re working with?
They are the most inquisitive, savvy, dedicated, measured and eager group of people I have had the pleasure of working with. They are more than just “nice,” they are passionate, and I like working with passion. These Black Hawk County volunteers have such know-how and skill, they essentially organize themselves.
Q3. What’s been your favorite Iowa caucus organizing moment?
Last week was a “Caucus House Party Bonanza” week, with great blow-out events. Five house parties, non-stop since Wednesday, was a first for me! And I give a huge amount of credit to my Neighborhood Team Leaders, interns and volunteers for pulling the pieces together to make them all work. I was thoroughly impressed by the effort and the brand new faces I met! Bringing new people into the fold is what building an organization is all about.
Q4. What’s your favorite part of this job?
My absolute favorite part about this job is meeting someone with the same amount of passion, drive and sense of urgency about the future. Someone who realizes what is at stake if we wait on the sidelines of the election in November. I really enjoy relating to people specifically in my age group who will be most adversely affected if we don't re-elect President Obama in 2012, which is why the organizing and team building that happens now is so important.
Q5. How did you first come to the campaign?
My family is very pro-community. My father is in a fraternity that is very actively involved year-round. My mother is the community events coordinator at our church. Every Christmas we volunteer at a host church and serve dinner to the homeless. Last winter there was a service effort at a food bank by an Obama organizer in Indiana. When I met him, we talked and he literally recruited me. At first, I was his photographer for local events. As I got more involved, I eventually applied to be a summer organizer. There are a lot of great people that I had the pleasure to work with there and they can mobilize! I did extremely well over the summer, so when I got the call from Iowa I quit my boring desk job and the rest is pretty much history!
Be sure to join your friends and neighbors at your local caucus on January 3rd. You'll have the opportunity to not only meet folks like Lauren, but also to hear a special message from President Obama when he joins caucus locations across Iowa via live video-call.