Going to senior lobby day 2013
By Sally Davis, PSARA memebr & featured in the video “Just Scrap the Cap – We’re Movin’ In”
PSARA joins many senior advocacy organizations in Olympia to learn, share information, and meet with their legislators.
For me, it started with getting up before sunrise, dressing for blustery weather, taking a short walk to the carpool meeting spot, (stopping on the way for the essential cup of coffee). Then, getting on the road to Olympia, we reviewed our appointment schedule, our “talking points” and our PSARA legislative agenda, which PSARA members had approved at our fall 2012 Legislative Conference. Since that conference, I know members of the PSARA Governmental Relations committee worked many hours to make the logistical arrangements to get PSARA members to Olympia. They arranged a charter bus, set up car pools and planned details of legislator appointments.
The United Churches building near the Capitol campus was overflowing with senior advocates from all over the state. I spoke with some people who were attending for the first time, and many who had come for years. It was busy and at first seemed chaotic. I appreciated the hosts from the Senior Lobby who were helpful and organized, providing comprehensive packets of information for us, along with directions to make the day go smoothly.
Before our legislator visits, speakers included our new governor, the attorney general, the leaders of DSHS, the Area Agencies on Aging and other organizations involved in advocacy and service to seniors. So many speakers in a short time- it was too much to take in all at once. Fortunately there were plenty of handouts and reports to refer to later.
Over hearty box lunches the PSARA group met to hear from our lobbyist, and review instructions and directions to the legislator’s offices. We shared umbrellas for the short chilly dash over to the Capitol campus. I tried to think of it as an adventure in citizenship rather than an inconvenience. A highlight of the day was watching our own Robby Stern being greeted again and again by lobbyists, legislators, and staff as we walked through the halls of the Legislative building. Apparently it’s one of those places “where everybody knows his name”.
Another highlight for me was listening to our legislators explain the various behind-the-scenes strategies that go into getting a bill passed. I am glad that my own district legislators are already supportive of most of PSARA’s priorities.
We can write to our legislators, phone or email them, but it’s a different experience to visit them in person and more powerful when many groups join together. I know it’s sometimes inconvenient to take time to visit our elected representatives, but I know we do have to go beyond voting. We have to “show up and speak up” for the issues important to us.