Feb. 25th, 2011

rdwaynewright: (Default)
The Senator wasn't available so we met with some staffers. It went REALLY well. There were about 16 of us and they spent a good 30-40 minutes talking to everyone. Both the Constituent Advocate (Vivian Gonzalez Cueto) and a Field Representative (Kurt Imhof) gave us their cards and met with us. We met with Vivian first down in the lobby because there were too many to fit in the office and their conference room was in use. We talked to her for about 10 minutes and then she went back upstairs to get Kurt. He came down and they both spent another 20 to 30 minutes with us. It was really nice of them to do that because we didn't have an appointment. We just showed up all at once at noon and said we wanted to speak with someone.

Kurt wants to set up a meeting with us next week so we can have a more substantive discussion about H.R. 1, Senator Casey's plans, and the programs that will be affected. They were very receptive, particularly since Casey has a good voting record on service. Kurt Imhof actually read over the paperwork we gave them and was prepared to talk about it when he came downstairs.

I politely stated that we hoped the Senator would be willing to make some sort of statement in support of funding AmeriCorps and Kurt seemed receptive to passing along that request.

All in all, I feel it was a very good and very productive meeting. I felt they really listened to us and took our words seriously. I'm particularly impressed that they want to meet with us again. Neither Kurt nor Vivian were as aware as we were of the impact that cuts to funding would have so I think much of the information we shared was news to them.

We were fortunate enough to have the executive director of LIFT in attendance so he was able to speak very authoritatively about the effect that the loss of AmeriCorps would have on his organization; they depend on AmeriCorps volunteers to staff and run the agency. The rest of us represented a wide cross-section of AmeriCorps alumni from different programs, as well as some allies who were not AmeriCorps alumni but worked with current AmeriCorps members.

Also, Vivian is an AmeriCorps alumna.


cut for a few of my photos )


rdwaynewright: (Default)

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