Russert, Obama urge public service

Summer interns in the Washington, D.C., area packed the Warner Theatre July 26 to learn about public service opportunities and hear Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and NBC’s Tim Russert speak at an event sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service.

Obama, who received a standing ovation, compared America’s current globalization transition to the country’s shift from agriculture to manufacturing more than a century ago. Given the scope of the changes, it is time to revamp the government, he said.

Obama said he wants the federal government to keep up with the tech-savvy young people it seeks to recruit.

“We’ve got a bureaucracy and government structure that really haven’t been updated since the ’30s or ’40s,” he said. The government needs to be redesigned to strengthen what it does well and find solutions for problem areas, he said.

“I am here in this effort because of my own journey,” Russert said. He discussed the public service careers of friends and family and the government jobs he held early in his career.

“Your generation, too, could be the greatest generation, but it will not be unless people understand there’s a world beyond themselves,” Russert said. He encouraged the audience to work for the community and the common good.

The town hall meeting was followed by a federal job fair in which about 30 agencies participated.

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