Organizing for America comes to Prescott

Jeff Rome

Politics can scare off some of us.
The word, the idea, the whole gestalt that politics evokes keeps many at a far distance, but not Sam Coodley. Each week, Coodley devotes 20 to 30 hours, unpaid, to Organizing for America (OFA), an organization dedicated to re-electing President Obama.
OFA did not come to Prescott until this past January, at a State of the Union Address get-together. Yavapai County may not seem like the ideal place to launch a campaign for a democratic president, but, according to Coodley, Arizona is “one of the very few states that didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 that could in 2012.”
Arizona could be blue in the next election, but this ‘could’ is why we find people like Coodley putting so much energy into an uncertainty that will only become certain with a lot of work. This work is paying off. This is due largely to a very dedicated volunteer base.

“I chose not to [graduate in May] so I could be fully engaged this semester,” says Coodley.  “I’m happy about it. It’s allowing me to turn my BA into a BFA and filmmaking into activist filmmaking.” He views his work on the campaign not as a choice, but as a responsibility.

Right now, OFA is focusing on growing its volunteer base. Using a database composed of democrats and independents, volunteers are trained in calling, canvassing and entering data pertaining to democratic and independent voters. The group sets up voter registration tables at Fry’s and New Frontiers. Since federal funding for voter registration tables has stopped, most tables are now set up by partisan organizations. “I wear an Obama pin at the voter registration events, if only for transparency,” Coodley said. “If anyone asks, I can say, ‘yes, I am working for Organizing for America.’”

Coodley, one of the OFA coordinators for the Prescott area, hopes to expand their coverage area to Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. Yavapai County is one of the most conservative in the state, but “there’s a lot more independents and democrats here than you would be led to believe,” Coodley said. “We just want to let folks know they’re not alone, and get them involved in something that lets them know there’s other [liberally minded] folks out there.”

Those interested in volunteering can join the volunteer list at barackobama.com. Phone calling and data entry goes on every Tuesday and Thursday at Yavapai County’s Democratic Headquarters, located at 1555 Iron Springs Road, from 2 to 8 pm. There are informational meetings held at the Prescott Public Library throughout the week.

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