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Mike Blake and the Importance of Volunteers

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in an inspiring conversation with Michael Blake, the deputy director of the campaign's Operation Vote. Seated around the table, we had neighborhood team leaders, spring fellows, interns, and staff. Michael began by discussing the importance of the 2012 election, noting the stark contrast between the policies of President Obama and whoever is chosen as the Republican presidential nominee. Health care, education, and the economy are all areas where the Republican nominee will look to roll back progressive reforms that have been enacted.

Michael also discussed the importance of mobilizing volunteers in 2012. The strength of our volunteer teams will be the reason we successfully re-elect the President. One of the most effective ways to build up our teams and volunteer base is sharing our own stories about why we support the President. Building strong neighborhood teams will allow the campaign to educate people about the accomplishments from the past three years and plans for the next four.

Michael ended the night by sharing his story and how he came to be involved with the campaign. For him, this was not supporting policies simply because he felt they were right for the country, but because they hit home. He discussed health care reform and how this impacted his family members who had battled cancer. He talked about his brothers serving in the military and how our foreign policy affected their lives. And he talked about how education reform was not an abstract concept, but a very real need. The school Michael attended as a young boy was discussed in the book Savage Inequalities by author Jonathan Kozol. His school was typical of many across our country that need reform so that our young people can get a better education.

I can very much identify with Michael's last point. I spent years as a tutor and mentor to students who had been left behind in our schools. When sharing your personal stories, you realize how much we have in common. This election will be pivotal to our country, and I hope everyone reading this will join us so that we can re-elect President Obama.

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