On May 10, the Obama campaign is planning quite an extraordinary event. They want to send their volunteers out to register new voters, no matter who the winner of the Democratic primary will be.

This event will either be a big media story, or not, depending on YOUR participation. Yes YOU. People always think well, someone else will do that. I don’t need to. But that’s the difference between a few hundred participating, and a few hundred thousand participating.

Want to find out what this is all about? Continue with me under the fold.
On May 10, the Obama for America campaign is going to be training volunteers to do voter registration, and then sending them out into the field that same day to sign up new voters.

You can find out where the nearest event in your area is by going to http://my.barackobama.com/voteforchange.

I’ve already picked the spot where I will register voters.

I’m heading to Union Station, one of the country’s great train stations, because May 10 also just happens to be the first ever National Train Day!

I’m going to do my own flyer (the campaign said go for it) noting Obama’s recent statements in support of train travel rather than temporary gas tax gimmicks:

The irony is with the gas prices what they are, we should be expanding rail service. One of the things I have been talking bout for awhile is high speed rail connecting all of these Midwest cities – Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis. They are not that far away from each other. Because of how big of a hassle airlines are now. There are a lot of people if they had the choice, it takes you just about as much time if you had high speed rail to go the airport, park, take your shoes off.

This is something that we should be talking about a lot more. We are going to be having a lot of conversations this summer about gas prices. And it is a perfect time to start talk about why we don’t have better rail service. We are the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t have high speed rail. We just don’t have it. And it works on the Northeast corridor. They would rather go from New York to Washington by train than they would by plane. It is a lot more reliable and it is a good way for us to start reducing how much gas we are using. It is a good story to tell.

Obama’s comments did not go unnoticed by Friends of the Earth, which promptly issued this statement:

Obama’s Call for Rail Expansion Instead of Gas Tax Holiday Welcomed by Friends of the Earth
Instead of pandering with McCain-Clinton `holiday’ that won’t solve problem, Obama proposes real solution  

WASHINGTON, DC – May 1 -Senator Barack Obama’s rejection of a gas tax holiday and his decision to call instead for an expansion of passenger rail service was welcomed today by national environmental group Friends of the Earth, which said Obama was proposing real solutions instead of creating false hopes.

“With Americans feeling pain at the pump, Senator Barack Obama is talking about real solutions, including stronger fuel economy standards and support for expanding passenger rail,” said Colin Peppard, Friends of the Earth’s transportation policy coordinator. “Rail is an efficient, cost-effective way to travel that also happens to limit global warming. Senator Obama deserves a lot of credit for his foresight and candor.”

Peppard also criticized the other leading presidential candidates’ support of a gas tax holiday:

“The ridiculous `tax holiday’ proposed by Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton is a typical Washington gimmick designed to score political points without actually helping voters. It’s a short-term stunt that would do little if anything to lower prices at the pump. At the same time, it would actually hurt us in the long run by diverting attention from real transportation solutions like passenger rail that can reduce costs and cut carbon at the same time.”

In addition, Union Station is in a heavily Hispanic area, an area where they don’t know Obama nearly well enough. So I hope to educate people as well as register them. Wish me luck!

And if any of you are in Los Angeles and want to help (I’m looking at you, Fabooj!) please contact me so we can hook up and do some voter registration together!

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