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The Organizing for America [OFA] Missouri listening tour with Erin McCann, OFA’s Missouri Field Director, made a stop in Warrensburg this evening. The purpose of the event was to introduce state staff and to get input from interested grassroots activists about the direction of OFA’s efforts.  

Erin McCann (right), Missouri Field Director for Organizing for America.

Large post-it sheets were placed on the walls. The first set contained key elements learned from volunteers:

…1. OFA [Organizing for America] volunteers are committed to continuing the movement they built during the campaign.

2. Volunteers agree that OFA’s #1 priority should be advancing president Obama’s policy agenda.

3. Volunteers also care about building the grassroots & getting involved in local communities.

4. Volunteers want to stay connected to President Obama.

5. Organizing in teams is the most effective way to maximize our efforts.

6. Training is key to building teams and empowered and effective vol[unteers].

There was a lengthy and wide ranging discussion.

I spoke with Erin McCann after the meeting:

Show Me Progress: …You’ve had a number of meetings in, in the state. Could you tell me how many and what has been the purpose of these meetings?

Erin McCann, Missouri Field Director, Organizing for America: Sure. So, we’ve had fifteen meetings now. And the purpose of  these meetings is to introduce Organizing for America and its staff to the general public, to reconnect with people that were supportive in the organization that were volunteers, for the most part, and just let them know what, you know, what we’re trying to accomplish here. Let them know the mission and objectives for Organizing for America…

SMP: In, what really is the purpose of Organizing for America and what brought that about?

Erin McCann: Really, I think it came about, since after the election in, there was a team that worked in Chicago that kind of reviewed the election. What we did well, what we could have done better. And what we were hearing from volunteers and supporters all across the country is that they wanted to continue the movement. That they wanted to continue to stay involved. Just because the President had elected that didn’t mean that they couldn’t continue to work to bettering their communities. And we sent a survey out asking people what, you know, what they wanted to see from the cam…, the organization that was built by the campaign, which essentially was built, you know, by the amazing volunteers we had all across the country. And the overwhelming response was that they wanted to continue to organize around issues in their community. And they wanted to continue, even more so, wanted to continue organizing around President Obama’s agenda  for which they voted for.

SMP: So, what has been the result of these fifteen meetings that you’ve had across the state?

Erin McCann: Meetings have been amazing. In one sense we have, everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve heard some of the same from each meeting from the public. But every meeting has a few ideas that we haven’t heard before. And it’s amazing to see the different ideas that come from, you know, what we hear in St. Charles may be different from what we hear in Springfield, different from what we hear in Kansas City, in Rolla. They’re all, they all have unique perspective on what they want to see from Organizing from America and how they can organize around the President’s agenda in their own communities. What I’ve also been impressed with is each meeting we’ve gone to there have been new people that have been involved. That have showed up, never were involved in the election, but want to hear what’s going on and want to get involved now. It’s been great to reconnect with communities. And from these meetings we’ve had people that have signed up and want to get involved and volunteer.

SMP: What do you attribute this continued involvement and this new involvement to?

Erin McCann: I think, I think what I have noticed, I noticed during the campaign, and I continue to notice, I think it’s what a lot of people that were supportive and volunteered during the campaign have realized that with the power of many we can do many things. And so many people decided to get involved, to take action, and were empowered to become leaders in their community. And, you know, just electing a president, that’s just the beginning. I, I believe that people, and what I’ve heard all over the state, is that people are excited to continue the, the organization that was built, to continue bettering their community. It just didn’t stop at electing a president. We have to continue.

SMP: It sort of gives you hope, doesn’t it?

Erin McCann: Completely. This is the best part of my job. I, I always think I’m, I’m very lucky to be, to be doing something that I love and I’m inspired every day by people I meet in Missouri.

SMP: Well, thank you very much for your time.

Erin McCann: Thank you.

About thirty individuals showed up in Warrensburg to participate in the listening tour.