Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'No Job Too Big, No Job Too Small'

What does a stem cell watchdog do for fun?

In the case of John M. Simpson(pictured), stem cell project director for Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Ca., he takes two weeks vacation and goes to work in the Obama campaign in Missouri, one of the battleground states in this year's historic presidential election.

Simpson, who has been observing and participating in the affairs of the California stem cell agency for several years, is doing a bit of everything in Joplin, Mo., the fourth largest metro area in the "show me" state.

It is a far cry from expenses and lifestyle of California. The average home price is around $70,000-$80,000. Once the lead and zinc capital of the world, tourism now drives the Joplin economy, generating $220 million annually for the 400,000 persons who live in the metro area (49,024 for the city proper).

More than 70 years ago, Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde pillaged several businesses in the community and were chased out of town in a gunfight, leaving their camera behind. The images in it were later developed and may be the most famous of those of the two thieves.

Simpson, however, is not interested in banks. He is looking for beds. Places where out-of-state volunteers can rest during the big push for Obama turnout next Tuesday.

We asked Simpson why he is taking his vacation time to work the long and arduous hours involved in the final stage of a presidential campaign.

He said the election is pivotal, a time to unite the country and move away from "Republican rule that is dominated by the interests of big business."

California seemed to be comfortably in the Obama camp. So Simpson volunteered for out-of-state work. He attended a two-day "Camp Obama" training session in October. They put him in touch with the folks in Missouri.

In addition to scrounging up bunks for volunteers, Simpson is setting up speaking engagements for Obama surrogates, lugging furniture and sweeping floors. "No job too big, no job too small" is Simpson's credo. He reported, however, that he can't keep up with the 20-something, paid staffers who put in 20 hour days. He said he can only do 12 hours.

Simpson is recording some of his experiences on his Facebook site. You can read them after registering as a friend of John. Sphere: Related Content

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