Senator Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut
(CNN)–Looking to create a generation of Americans who serve their country, Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd says his administration would make such service a priority.
"Endowed as we are with so many gifts, is it too much to ask that we each give something back to this remarkable place?" Dodd, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, made the comments Saturday at Nashua City Hall, in Nashua, New Hampshire. He said it was the same location President Kennedy stood for the first time as a Democratic candidate for president in 1960.
"As president, I will ask Americans to share in the responsibility of bringing our nation together again, and I will provide the ways for all Americans to participate," he said. "Never again will this country have to wait for a national crisis to bring us together with national purpose," Dodd said in reference to the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina.
The "American Community Initiative" would make a mandatory service requirement for high school students. Such service gives every student the opportunity to acquire new skills while meeting the needs of the community, Dodd said. "If the chat rooms and online communities of today show us anything, it is that young people yearn for shared experiences." Dodd said. He also proposed increasing the size of AmeriCorps, the national service program, to one million participants.
Dodd, who served in the Peace Corps, said he would double the size of the organization by 2011. In addition, he proposed increasing the size of AmeriCorps, the national service program, to one million participants by the end of his presidency.
He also proposed creating a Rapid Response Corps made up of former service volunteers and retired military personnel to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies. The program would also include a Senior Heroes program that would encourage seniors to volunteer in the nation's schools.
Dodd is also expected to address his plan in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday.
–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford