by Barbara Pierce
One of my many NFB responsibilities is being the legislative director for Ohio. It’s my job to urge everyone to contact state and federal senators and representatives when we are interested in legislation. I also take an active part in our annual Washington Seminar.
Every late January a group from Ohio travels to Washington to meet with our members of Congress or their aides to discuss about three legislative priorities. We try to get this done in a day or a day and a half. It is pretty intensive work, and it requires a lot of walking and careful discussions with Washington insiders. This year we will gather with Federationists from across the United States for the legislative preparation and general briefing known as the Great Gathering-in on Monday, January 25. We go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and Wednesday if we don’t get done on Tuesday. Then we fly home.
The deadline for expressing interest in participating in this activity is December 1. We try to draw a group from across the state, including representatives from as many congressional districts as possible. We divide into several groups who travel around the Hill together and meet with staff members from several offices. We are always interested in bringing along new people to this event. If you have an interest in federal politics and national policy concerning blindness, if you have the stamina to walk on marble floors for a day or two, and if you can find a way to fund your trip at least in part, please let Eric Duffy or me know about your interest before December 1. As for the financial issue, sometimes chapters can help with funding. Sometimes local civic organizations are willing to help. It doesn’t have to be funding out of your own pocket. Try to find funding and be prepared to share a room with two or three other Ohioans. We conduct this event as economically as possible.
I have been going to Washington for years. I think 2016 will be my fortieth Washington Seminar. I would be happy to be replaced, so let us know if you are interested. The Washington Seminar is about as much fun as hard work ever gets.