Obama, McCain, and the future of national service

Major party candidates and their plans for national service

(Update on 9/11/08: this article from Chronicle of Philanthropy about the two Senators records on national service.)

Whatever you think of Senators Obama and McCain and their political parties, you probably hope that each of them has something valuable to add to the conversation about national service — after all, one of them will be president soon, and service corps alumni stand to fill the looming public service leadership shortage created as the Baby Boomer generation retires.

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Barack Obama on National Service

Obama’s plan is listed as an issue on his site, and is expansive: tripling AmeriCorps and doubling Peace Corps; creating new service corps on education, health care, clean energy & green jobs, veterans, and homeland security; and engaging baby boomers on a larger scale. Reading the plan, you get the idea that the stereotype of a national service participant will no longer be that of someone young and inexperienced, and in fact, that stereotypes no longer apply. Participants will represent a wide cross-section of the United States, people who come to a term-of-service opportunity for many reasons. Read more on his web site, or download the plan (PDF). (His plan also addresses military service.)

Note that some service corps programs such as Peace Corps are currently shrinking number of participants due to budget restrictions.

Video from Service Vote ’08:

Here is Obama speaking Sept. 11 as part of the Service Nation Summit:

John McCain on National Service

McCain‘s plan has not been easy to track down, though he has been supportive of AmeriCorps, and was the first of the two candidates to agree to speak at the Service Nation Summit. In 2001, he published this article in The Washington Monthly explaining his views on the topic. McCain worked with Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) in 2001 to try to expand national service, but has said that the war in Iraq has pushed these efforts to the “sidelines.” And in 2003 McCain worked to ask President Bush not to cut funding of AmeriCorps. (For some analysis of McCain’s history on the topic of national service, read “Service Interruption” by Washington Monthly‘s Paul Glastris. Also check out Steve Benen on “McCain, Obama, and National Service.”)

Video from Service Vote ’08:

Here is the first part of McCain’s interview on Sept. 11 at the Service Nation Summit:

5 thoughts on “Obama, McCain, and the future of national service

  1. Thanks for the info on the candidates’ ideas for public service. It’s encouraging that so many organizations – including United Way, American Red Cross and Equal Justice Works (http://equaljusticeworks.wordpress.com/) – have signed on to support ServiceNation. Hopefully the coalition will engage people across the country and motivate the next Administration to boost its commitment to service.

  2. Equal Justice Works is doing great things–thanks for sharing your blog with us.

  3. Well said.

  4. Pingback: RPCVs ask Obama for More Peace Corps « The New Service

  5. Pingback: Change.gov « The New Service

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