Heckled By ParrotsBlue Sky WritingRebecca K. O'Connor

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Conservation On Capital Hill

On Capital hill

On Capital hill

I’m not a lobbyist and I don’t plan to become one, but I was in DC to give a presentation at Phoenix Landing, so I thought I would tack on a bit of time to check out what the Ducks Unlimited DC office gets itself up to.

I work with major donors and I thought major donors would have some interest. What I didn’t count on was being recruited to lobby.

Now, I grew up in a house where it was considered impolite to talk about politics. To this day I don’t know who my grandparents voted for or supported. In fact, my grandmother claimed every year that she was voting for Dewey. She never got over that particular lost election…  So politics and I are not comfortable bedfellows. I have my opinions. I formulate them carefully. I listen and read, but I don’t talk about them. It’s nobody’s business and honestly, a friendly debate NEVER feels friendly to me.  So I don’t belong in DC.

However, I was willing, in fact excited to go lobby for Ducks, because one should know how these things work. One should have an idea how the things you believe in become bills and laws and how they get funded.

No Time for Stairs

So escorted by one of our staff from DC, I met with staffers from both my Senator’s offices and my Congressman’s office, as well as a few others. I learned a lot just by watching about the influx of information and way things work on the simpliest level. Having someone in front of them reminding them of local interests is huge. I’m now thrilled that DU has people on Capital Hill keeping important conservation issues in front of politicians. Nothing happens in government without pressure.

So when you find issues that are crucial to what you believe in make sure you do something about it.

  • Do you belong to an organization that has a lobbyist? Make sure the orgs that you support know what policy is important to you. If enough members feel strongly about a policy that’s in the realm of that org’s interest and expertise, it is likely to react and get your voice heard.
  • Call you Senator and your Congressman. They keep track of how many calls and of how their constituents are reacting. I saw it, first hand. And that’s mostly what they care about. How many of you care.
  • Vote. Seriously. And not just for the President. Know who is running for Congress and the Senate and vote. It makes a difference.

This these I can do. These things I know make a difference. Which is good, because you won’t find me lobbying again any time soon…

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