Hey, Mabel! THE Clinton, Iowa Open Forum
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Foot in the door
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Hi everyone! This is John Santore again. I posted a few days ago (my original posting is included below), but I wanted to write again in an attempt to better express myself. 

As I previously mentioned, I'm coming to Clinton in October to write about the city and its relationship to the presidential primary campaigns. If you search for my name (John V. Santore) you'll find that in the past, I've done work with Democrats in DC, and worked for Obama in Iowa as a field organizer in 2007. I'm no longer associated with any Democratic group, however, and this project is entirely self-financed and independent. 

In essence, I'm trying to learn what democracy means, in a real, tangible sense, for the people of Iowa during the 2012 primary cycle. The national media hangs on every word the candidates utter, and spends a great deal of time on "controversies" between their campaigns. Meanwhile, my experience in 2007 led me to believe that field operatives for the campaigns believe that they're at the center of something big and important, and that they're directly engaging the communities where they work in a significant way. 

What I'm trying to learn is this: what do those "controversies" and the stump speeches mean to people in Clinton? And just how connected are you with the campaigns? In other words, how closely does this year's caucus process dovetail with your own concerns, lives, and the needs of your community? 

The success of this project will be entirely dependent on how many local people I can meet and talk with in an unscripted, honest way. I don't want to pass off speculation or personal judgement as reporting. Instead, I want to report what I see and hear from the people of Clinton. 

Hence, I'm hoping to find folks from this online community who would be willing to talk with me. A few people wrote back after my first post, and that was great, but I'm looking for more. If you'd like to talk on-the-record, terrific. If you'd prefer to talk but maintain your anonymity, I understand and I'd still love to speak with you. 

Finally, I'm hoping to learn about the issues that impact this community. I'm reading the postings here, and reading the Herald and other news sources, but I'd love to hear from the Hey, Mabel community about the defining local issues and stories in your mind. I can read about Clinton's budget cuts, issues with ADM, and so forth, but it would mean a lot more if I could ask folks questions about stories like these. 

I can be reached any time through this message board, or by email: johnvsantore@gmail.com. If you are interested, but have doubts about who I am or what I'm about, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm eager to share! 

Thanks again for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you! 

- John

--------ORIGINAL POST---------

Hello all! My name is John V. Santore, and I am writing today in the hope of finding Clinton residents who can help me with a journalistic project I'll be conducting there in October. Here is a bit of information about me so that you might better understand the nature of what I'm hoping to find: 

I'm originally from New York City, and I graduated from Georgetown University in 2005. I worked for the US Congress until 2007, at which point I moved to Iowa where I worked as a field organizer on a presidential campaign for three months, followed by 11 more months on the campaign in six other states. Once the election was over, I moved back to DC, where I was employed by a non-profit. In the summer of 2010, I moved to Chicago, where I have been pursuing journalism. 

Since first coming to the state in the fall of 2007, I have been fascinated by both Iowa and its role in the US political system. I have long been interested in writing about a presidential campaign, but I don't want to put the campaign first in my work. Instead, I want to put communities first - to learn about them, and their residents, and relate those core topics to the campaigns, rather than the other way around. 

To that end, I'm currently planning a four month trip to Iowa to start in October, during which time I will live in four separate cities for one month each (Clinton, Ottumwa, Sioux City, and Fort Dodge). During my time in each city, I hope to learn as much as I can about its people, its history, and the challenges and opportunities ahead of it, as well as the ways in which local individuals engage, and are engaged by, the host of presidential campaigns in their midst. 

Considering how knowledgeable and engaged the people on this message board are about the issues facing Clinton, I'm hoping to find individuals who would be interested in being interviewed for this project. I'm also looking for advice: who should I talk to in town, and what are the local stories, organizations, and institutions that deserve attention?

The best way to contact me is by email: johnvsantore@gmail.com. Any and all information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you! 

Best wishes, 

John V. Santore


John V. Santore
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