The last OUT OF POVERTY... Flash Update recommended that we take advantage of Congress summer recess to visit our Legislators, while they were back in their districts. Some of us took advantage of that opportunity, made an appointment and went to advocate for the priorities of the people we serve. In some cases, we were able to meet our legislator personally, in others with a senior member of their staff.
The summer recess is now over, but the need to visit the district office of our legislators is not. You can make a visit to the District Office Director at any time.
If you are VOP Vincentian, you probably have the skills to organize Congressional visits for your Council. If the Council does not have VOP, this one of the reasons why you should have it!
The first thing to consider is how many Congressional districts are in the territory of your Council, some districts can be only in part in the area covered by your Council. That is normal. The next step is to recruit at least one Vincentian of each congressional district to arrange the appointment and then go with you to the visit. This is important; most legislators only give appointments to their constituents (i.e. people residing in the district). For the Senators making an appointment should not be an issue as they cover your entire State.
If possible, arrange for your Council President to join in the visit. The Council President represents your local SVdP organization officially.
The issues that we suggest for discussion at this time are:
- Passing Immigration Reform
- No roll-back of current protections for unaccompanied children
- Passing of emergency funding for compassionate treatment of children and other refugees
- Passing the Smart Sentencing Act (SB1410) and the Second Chance Act (SB1690-HR3465).
- Passing the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, to restore the lost value of minimum wage due to inflation
The National VOP web site has information on how to conduct Congressional visits:
House Representatives want to be re-elected in November and, at this time, they are more open to hear our requests. Please do not be shy.