UPDATE: As of March 23rd, 2017 – Both Congressman Gallego and Congresswoman Sinema have *signed* the “Dear Colleague” letter as we requested. Thank you Gallego and Sinema! Also, thanks to Alex Dreher for her consistence check-ins with their staff to get updated progress. This is a win!!
On March 8th Alex Kassman-Dreher, Courtney Jackson, and I met with staffers for Congressman Ruben Gallego and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema. It was a perfect beautiful day which coincided Peace Corps Week, the National Peace Corps Days of Action, and International Women’s Day. Here we were, three women, speaking to all women staffers for these congressional representatives, advocating for the Peace Corps, which helps women all over the world!
Here’s the secret – and why I’m addicted to working toward legislative action. It wasn’t difficult. In fact, it was kind of fun! Alex did most of the heavy lifting in terms of going back and forth with the staffers to nail down a time. It resulted in a morning meeting with Monica ??, a key staffer for Ruben Gallego and an afternoon meeting with Michelle Coldwell & Bianca Castro, staffers for Sinema.
Alex had guided us all with a “How to Speak to your Legislators” workshop, giving “10 Effective Principles of Lobbying” among many other tips and tools. We did role playing. Alex, with the help of her husband Casey, someone who has great experience lobbying for progress on many issues, also created an outline for what and how we’d speak in our brief meetings. We’d taken the workshop, we’d done some role-playing, we’d met beforehand to rehearse what we’d say. Then it was GO TIME.
The staffers were polite and friendly to our cause, a big plus. We were passionate about our topic. We had our talking points set and, most importantly, our ‘asks’ lined up.
Did they applaud our expositions and give full-throated promises that they’d do exactly what we asked? No. However, they took notes, collected our information packet, they listened to the why of what we wanted, and they said they would present it all to those that can move the needle toward a future we want. That was enough – and it was empowering and exhilarating. That was what got me hooked.
I’m addicted to this form of political action and looking forward to my next hit of legislative contact and want to bring others down (or up!) with me!
Yours in action,
RPCV Phoenix, Board President