January 30, 2002 - MSNBC: Bush proposes ‘Freedom Corps’

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - 1:29 am: Edit Post

Bush proposes ‘Freedom Corps’

Read and comment on this story from MSNBC on President Bush's proposal for Freedom Corps and to double the size of the Peace Corps at:

Bush proposes ‘Freedom Corps’ *

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Bush proposes ‘Freedom Corps’

President calls for Americans to devote two years to service

By Alex Johnson MSNBC

Jan. 30 — Proclaiming a “new culture of responsibility” after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks galvanized the nation’s conscience, President Bush called on all Americans to devote two years of their lives Tuesday night to the voluntary “service of your neighbors and your nation.”

LATE IN HIS State of the Union address, Bush evoked “the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood of firefighters and the bravery and generosity of ordinary citizens” as the inspiration for a new government agency called the USA Freedom Corps, described by administration officials as a homeland security answer to the Peace Corps, which sends Americans overseas in development and human services jobs. Bush disclosed few specifics and no price tag for the new agency, but he is expected to announce details when he embarks on a trip Wednesday to North Carolina and Florida. Announcement of the agency puts flesh on the skeleton of a philosophy Bush talked about at length during the presidential campaign, when he consistently put forth a vision of a “compassionate conservatism” in which volunteers at all stations of life would reach out to struggling citizens. Advertisement

“This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity,” Bush said Tuesday night in Washington, “a moment we must seize to change our culture. “Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know: We can overcome evil with greater good.”

200,000 NEW VOLUNTEERS The Freedom Corps would not replace any of the similar existing programs. Instead, it would combine with two other, similar organizations — AmeriCorps and the Senior Corps — to provide a structure for an initial force of 200,000 new volunteers. The corps will focus on three “areas of need,” he said: responding to domestic crises, “rebuilding our communities and extending American compassion throughout the world.” Separately, Bush proposed to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers to 14,000, saying many of those people would be sent to the Islamic world. Bush would fill out the new corps by asking all Americans to commit “at least two years — 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime — to the service of your neighbors and your nation.”

“America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized in major emergencies, volunteers to help police and fire departments [and] transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger,” he said. Bush did not say how the new Freedom Corps would interact with the agency that already oversees AmeriCorps and the Senior Corps. The Corporation for National and Community Service is an independent federal agency signed into law during the administration of Bush’s father.

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