June 23rd, 2007
02:56 PM ET
7 years ago

Dodd makes national call to service

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

Filed under: Chris Dodd • New Hampshire • Race to '08
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Chris, Thorofare, New Jersey

    Are these politicians in complete disconnect with reality? How enraging!

    This is essentially "mandatory community service" for young people.

    It's not enough that illegal immigrants have taken summer jobs from young americans, now you want them to do community service while the illegals are doing summer work?

    And on the topic of disaster response -what is FEMA, etc doing besides costing us millions of tax dollars and failing miserably during a crisis like Katrina? You already tax us 50-60% of our income, now you want us to volunteer our little remaining free time to do what these organizations are there for?

    Here's an idea. Stop outsourcing of our jobs so we have time and money to donate to time or money to organizations like this. Stop allowing illegal immigrants to enter this country and depress our wages so we can focus on fixing what is wrong with our country. Stop printing money to pay for your wars and raising inflation, which depresses our wages.

    Or are you more interested in profits for your corporate allies then your constituents, senator?

    Next on the agenda – a draft, aka "young people giving to America" More young people being sent to Iraq/Iran to be murdered for big business interests. And it will have some quaint name/idea like this to sell it.

    June 23, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Phil, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Dodd must have never read the Constitution, as involuntary servitude is obviously prohibited by the 13th ammendment.

    June 23, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. TG from Trigsville, NJ

    Mandatory? This used to be America...

    June 23, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Mark Bures Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Forced labor is slavery, whatever the intent. In America, people should be FREE to contribute or not, however they like.

    June 23, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. js, Carrolton, TX

    Taxes are mandatory in this country, just as the draft used to be. In ancient Greece all able CITIZENS had the PRIVILAGE of serving in the army; same in the Roman Republic. It was when they stopped such requirements that their civilizations started to fail. Mandatory service is not against the traditions of democracy, it may be the highest expression

    June 23, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Phil, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Mandatory service is the highest expression of democracy? Do you have any idea what the Revolutionary War was founded on? You know, liberty, freedom, dissenting from an oppressive government, etc.?

    June 23, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Phil, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    *Fought on

    June 23, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. doc75, Fairfax, VA

    I noticed that Dodd did not encourage military service. At a time when our military is trying to increase its size, what message is he trying to send by ignoring military service?

    June 23, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Marsha, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    Well, there'e one less candidate to consider voting for. At what point did politicians decide that they had the right to force anyone, especially minors, into unpaid labor? If my children perform volunteer work, it will be because they choose to do so, and I allow it. This is not within the jo description of any politician to dictate.

    June 23, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Bob Earl, Miami, Florida

    Dear Senator Dodd,
    Are you proposing the American Public be conscripted to build the wall on our southern border because politicians like you don't have the courage to do it with our tax money?
    Don't bother, millions of us will volunteer. The Minutemen already have, spending their own money to do the work the American citizenry wants done. We reject spineless politicians who try to hold power over the citizens of the United States of America.

    June 24, 2007 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Van, Boca Raton FL

    I just love when an old politician makes young people do things they didn't have to.

    And the emergency response volunteers: isn't that what the national guard is for? Oh right they're busy fighting wars they're not supposed to be involved in, silly me

    June 24, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. East Bank Thom, Portland OR

    This is a great idea. Imagine free or sliding scale day care in every zip code. And yes, this would also help us rebuild the military. And why not serve a year securing the border? 18 year old single parents could spend the year learning how to parent. Or would it be more progressive to enable a lifetime of entitlement and dependency? I am saddened but not shocked by the initial negative response.

    June 24, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |