Days after the House narrowly passed a major health care reform bill, about 30 Lawrence-area residents gathered at the Kansas Union Tuesday to discuss further strategies on advancing the legislation.
“We’re trying to get the sense of urgency back out,” said George Dungan, vice president of the Kansas University Young Democrats.
He is hoping the Senate version of the bill and a conference bill will resemble the House version.
Dungan and others attended a listening tour of Organizing for America, or OFA, an extension of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. It’s aimed at building a grass-roots organization to advocate on certain issues.
John Jevitts, the OFA Kansas state director, has done several listening tours across the state in order to try to build up volunteers.
“People are very excited that we’ve come this far, for example, in the health care campaign,” Jevitts said. “They are also excited that we’re continuing the president’s grass-roots movement for change.”
He said the listening tour events have included between 15 to 30 people. People often break into smaller groups and discuss their own experiences with the health care system or ways they can lobby representatives on issues.
Jevitts said he was planning a future community service project in the state before the end of the year, and OFA was also looking to train more volunteers in the state soon to help build the organization’s profile.
Dungan, a KU senior from Lincoln, Neb., said he was happy with Tuesday’s turnout and that OFA could pay dividends for Democrats in Kansas as they prepare for the 2010 elections.
“It’s huge. It’s unprecedented to take a presidential campaign and make it into a community organizing campaign,” Dungan said.