THE POWER OF MEETING YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS - March 6, 2019
As the 116th Congress churns into full gear, it will be bombarded with hordes of people seeking to meet with members of Congress and their office staffs. Corporations, associations, and others have already been making visits for several weeks, introducing themselves to the freshman members of Congress or solidifying previous relationships with more experienced lawmakers.
Every membership group has some kind of "Day on the Hill,” or "Legislative Conference,” or some type of fly-in where members come into town to speak to their members of Congress. Members of the Federal Managers Association (FMA), in town for FMA’s 81st National Convention and Management Training Seminar, will be on Capitol Hill on March 13. For most, this is quite a powerful experience and, in many ways, the most basic form of the democratic process. Members of Congress are elected by the people of their district or state. These constituents have the ability to schedule a meeting with them or their staffs to discuss issues of importance to them.
Too many experts, staffers, and lobbyists who live within the D.C. beltway take this experience for granted. It is truly an incredible experience to head up to Capitol Hill for the first time. When a constituent advocates on behalf of a cause they believe in and are passionate about, it empowers them to become more engaged. It enables a person to tangibly connect with their history, with the policies they are fighting for, and allows them to fulfill their civic duty of participating in democracy. Advocating for a cause on Capitol Hill enables citizens to provide critical feedback to a lawmaker and serves as a check on the legislative branch by those it represents.
It is an especially important time for members of the federal workforce to take their opinions to Capitol Hill. Civil servants are prevented, rightfully so, from being political in the office, but we live in an amazing country where those who put their constitutionally-mandated mission above all else can discuss with members of Congress the challenges they face as a federal employee each day. On the heels of the longest partial government shutdown in our nation’s history, it is imperative that federal employees have a voice and feel empowered to express their opinions and talk about how the shutdown and other policies affect both their daily lives and the services they provide to the American people.
Regardless of what someone is advocating for, or whether it is called a ”fly-in” or ”Day on The Hill,“ when you are someone pushing for an issue that you care about and your voice is heard, it is a powerful feeling. It is a civic responsibility that everyone should perform at least once in their life, but truthfully, much more than that. We are blessed to live in a country where we have the ability to have direct access to our elected decision makers. Any citizen has the ability to question or praise their elected officials. This communication makes a real impact on members and their staffs. We are excited for FMA’s upcoming Day on the Hill and look forward to the feedback our members will share about their experiences.