Patterico's Pontifications

9/20/2009

Fuller Wicks Quote

Filed under: — Patterico @ 1:36 pm

Here is a fuller Wicks quote:

I, first of all, want to thank everyone for being on the call and really just a deep, deep appreciation for all the work that you all put into the campaign for the two plus years that we all worked together. I was the field director in California so I hear my L.A. peeps out there, so it’s exciting to hear those voices.

And, you know, we won and that’s exciting, and now we have to take all that energy and make it really meaningful. I’m in the White House now and what I’ve learned over these first — we just had our 200 mark on Saturday, which sounds crazy, is that it’s — that change does not come easy and, you know, when then Candidate Obama would say that it’s like, yeah, I know change doesn’t come easy, but then now that I’m actually in the White House and working towards furthering this agenda, this very aggressive agenda, I’m really realizing that, and I’m also appreciative of the way in which we did win and the strategy that the campaign shows, which is really to engage people at a local level and to engage them in the process, because we need them and we need you, and we’re going to need your help, and we’re going to come at you with some specific asks here.

But we know that you guys are ready for it and eager to participate, so one we want to thank you, and two, I hope you guys are ready. So I’m at the Office of Public Engagement here at the White House. Our office does a lot of outreach to communities all across the country either by constituency groups or by issue.

We have about 20 folks and we work under Valerie Jarrett, she’s one of our fantastic leaders and Tina Chen. And so we’re really here at your disposal and we want to be helpful to you. And as part of my role here is working on service, and so when we were thinking about how do we take a lot of this energy that’s out there, how do we translate folks who have just been engaged in electoral politics and engage them in really the process of governing, of being part of this administration in a little bit of a different way because politics is one thing and governing is something totally separate, we really saw service as the platform by which we can do that.

Service for individuals who have never participated or volunteered in their community before really provides for them an opportunity to open their eyes and see what’s going on in their community and really the goal for us, we wanted to bolster civic engagement with this effort, this United We Serve effort. We wanted folks to connect with local nonprofit organizations in their community. We wanted them to connect with local city council members or local elected officials. We wanted them to connect with federal agencies, with labor unions, progressive groups, face groups, women’s groups, you name it.

What we realize was that the only way we’re really going to have change is if all of us are working together collaboratively in really creating sort of these sustained relationships that we can all build on and that it’s really going to take all of us to be strong to deal with a lot of the issues that we’re facing.

So the concept of United We Serve, and I know Nell is going to talk a little bit more in detail, is really to get folks engaged locally in their community. You know, the — the campaign itself goes from June 22nd to September 11th; 81 days of sustained service. And the reason why we did that time frame was often what happens is people will issue calls to service, everyone will go and participate and individuals will go out and do their two or three hours of volunteer time, and that’s it, and they walk away from that experience.

And maybe they’ve had a good time and maybe they didn’t, but there’s no real measure of impact.

So what we wanted to do was make this a sustained amount of time where folks could see what I’m doing here matters, and what I’m doing changes my community. And I see from beginning to end that I can be an agent of change in my community.

. . . .

So we’ve kind of narrowed it down to four main areas to give people a little bit of direction. We worked very closely with our federal agencies here in the government. We worked closely with the Department of Education, Department of Energy, the EPA, Department of Labor and others, really sort of industry experts thinking through what are the main issues people are facing, how can we work with local organizations and this federal government to create this sort of change.

So we focus on the four main areas: One is health care. Obviously, that’s a big issue. We met with Health and Human Services and thought through there are ways we can have organizations and individuals work with HHS and others to be effective. Is it preventative health care? Is it children nutrition? What are the main issues?

What’s the main focus there?

Second was energy and environment. And so we worked a lot with the Department of Interior. I know I’m throwing a lot of government stuff at you guys, so bear with me. It’s the world we live in now. We’re actually running the government. And Department of Energy and others I’m thinking through, is it trail restoration programs that’s needed? Is it weatherizing homes? So we can partner with the league of conservation voters or the Sierra Club on those efforts and really funnel people’s energies that way.

The third was education. We met with the Department of Education. Turns out the number one issue that they’re concerned about is summer reading loss. Children leave the 2nd grade, and they have these great reading skills, and they spend all summer in the pool like I did when I was little, and they go back in the fall and they have dramatically decreased their reading ability. So you have to play catch up.

So we wanted to combat that. So how can we — how can we combat that issue? You know, is it getting kids library cards or reading to children or doing book drives, things of that nature?

And then the fourth category was community renewal, and that’s more focused on our traditional service activities, you know, food shelters, homeless shelters. Many of these more traditional service activities. A lot of these organizations are facing a decrease in funding while at the same time an increase in need. So how can we support those needs.

So those are the four areas that we focused on, and we’re managing the whole thing through Serve.gov, which is a new Web site that Nell and I can talk to you about here in a second.

I didn’t remove much. But if this isn’t enough for you, you can always read the entire transcript, which I have linked in the main post. You can return to the main post here.

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