As a person of faith and someone who spent his early twenties working with churches on the South Side of Chicago, President Obama understands that public service is a core value for people of faith. He often reminds us that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper and that we are greater together than we are on our own. And he goes out of his way to lift up and support those who serve.
Last week, President Obama took time to honor those who serve our communities and our country. After the tragic events in Aurora, Colorado, the President visited and thanked the dedicated public servants who responded to the scene of the tragedy.
He also addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars and thanked them for their service and dedication to our country saying “in you I see…the virtues that make America great,” the President said. “Every generation among you served to keep us strong and free.”
Building on his personal belief in public service, President Obama has been committed to supporting public service efforts throughout his time in office. In 2009 he signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 volunteers to 250,000 by 2017. He also signed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which provides loan forgiveness for those who enter careers in public service, and supported legislation that helped save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and police across the country.
Mitt Romney has taken a different approach towards public service programs. He supported the House Republicans’ vote to end AmeriCorps, which would defund City Year, Habitat for Humanity, Teach For America and other important community organizations. Romney has also firmly opposed hiring more teachers, firefighters and police.
President Obama supports Americorps and other public service programs not just because they positively impact communities, but because they reflect who we are as a country. We hope you will stand with President Obama and the millions of Americans of faith who are committed to ensuring that public service remains an essential part of what makes us American.