Campaign Journal: Hometown Chicago

Adrienne Williams is an OffTheBus grassroots correspondent. Each week she contributes a campaign journal documenting her life out on the trail.

Chicago - Eight Months ago my life changed, as I quit the worse job of my life -- to finding a community of bloggers and active political opinion junkies - enters the Obama Campaign and Huffington Post.

A funny story how I found the Huffington Post really -- I started volunteering at the Headquarters (before the move to the new location) in Chicago. I walked into a new city of eager enthusiast, hopeful supporters of all colors, nationalities shapes and sizes. Walking in a little green and wide-eyed, thinking to myself, "what do I have to do?" Wow, how times have changed - from how can I help, to creating events all over Chicagoland. My first time volunteering, Huffington Post was on a few computer screens, and I asked a head volunteer coordinator, what was the Huffington Post? He begins to tell me about this community (in a New Zealander accent) and this began my interest and questions regarding how many people far and wide are making a difference in helping Sen. Obama's campaign to victory.

This Saturday I created my fifteen event to bring like-minded volunteers in helping elect Sen. Barack Obama for president. I started volunteering with simple phone banker - asking voters, would they consider voting for Sen. Barack Obama? I was then asked to become a registrar - as I was sworn (By Mayor Daley) to do my upmost, to make sure every citizen was registered in Cook County -- going out with others to buses and trains stops. I then got active in walking in pride parades, registering folks in market fairs and festivals. Then I moved on to sign up on my MY.BO events page, and there is where my event planning took hold. I wanted to go to see Obama and Biden in Springfield, but didn't drive (at the moment) so I organized a "Drive to Obama" campaign, and we signed up 15 people to donate their cars -- in exchange for safe passage to Obamaland. What a day -- can we say hot!

I then wanted to meet others and phone bank, so I set up an event to meet at the new Chicago volunteer headquarters to talk to undecided voters and in the process watch the event together! It was a great night to see Obama give his DNC acceptance speech.

The next goal was to do canvassing, so I joined a group in my neighbor to drive to Iowa (an important state for Obama) and walked the beat to make sure voters registered early in their districts. I met some interesting and fun people along the way, riding on a large commuter bus and back in one day! I even got to interview a few supporters on why they were working so hard and going to different states!

This week, I had volunteers come to my home to help me make calls to Indiana and Pennsylvania -- key swing states for early voting and Andy, (one of the volunteers who joined me) called young voters in Pennsylvania to make sure they made their voices heard! I also asked Andy why he wanted to volunteer for Obama and he stated, "For the past eight years, which I haven't been a big fan of, I'm looking for positive change and looking for someone on the right side of the issues. Sen. Obama is certainly that for me. I'm not going to necessarily be voting for my self interest - but in terms of what's good for the country; I think he's the best choice. In terms of phone banking, I'm just here to do my part. I'm canvassing a bit, I've donated money and I'm just trying to help in any way that I can on a personal level."

Most of the calls we were making were trying to get people to vote early for Obama. Most calls were people telling me they didn't want to talk about politics, or were for or against Obama, for whatever reason. I did get one very interesting caller living in Trail Creek, IN named Dorothy - who was very happy I called and who just heard that Sen. Barack Obama was Pro Choice, and in all conscious she couldn't vote for him because of this core belief. In fact, she stated she was a deeply god fearing woman, and as her husband put it, she will be losing her soul, if she voted for him, because he was pro-choice. I talked to her for about 20 minutes, on key issues (all on Obama's Web site) to stress that yes Obama is pro-Choice, but he is not pro abortion. She was then instructed by me, to write down a list of pros and cons, along with a large group of friends that were also not voting for Obama because of this one issues. (They were the middle class white women block). She thought this was an excellent idea and will take this into account, because she couldn't in all conscious vote for McCain.

I will perhaps call this voter after the election, to find out if she in fact voted for Obama or McCain.

Next week, another home event and I'm apart of the GOTV campaign -- stay-tuned for detailed phone and canvassing efforts!

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