Advocacy on the Hill

Folks from IFPTE NASA locals talking with a staffer (a PhD Astrophysicist!)

Folks from IFPTE NASA locals talking with a staffer (a PhD Astrophysicist!)

Seven AFEU members (six board members and a “new voice” member) traveled across the country to Washington, DC to meet with other IFPTE locals and to bring IFPTE issues to our Congressional Representatives and Senators. Monday was the federal caucus, where federal locals (NASA, Navy, Army, federal courts, etc.) met to discuss common issues we would bring to the hill later in the week. Tuesday was training and meeting with IFPTE leaders from across all sectors (federal/state/local governments and private-sector).

Tuesday night IFPTE held its annual Congressional reception in the Senate office building where staffers and even some Congresspeople visited informally over food and drinks.

Wednesday the action on the hill started, first with a morning “coffee with a Senator” then with the group splitting up to hit a number of Senate and House offices.¬†We visited the offices of well over 15 Senators and Representatives from both parties representing Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, and of course California. Most visits were with senior staffers (including one with an astrophysics PhD and another with a marine biology PhD) but we did get some time with Senators and Representatives. Each visit we presented major issues and showed our strength in our numbers, often having to visit in the hallway outside their offices because we wouldn’t fit in their conference rooms! Many of us traveled home Thursday evening while a few of us stuck it out through the full day on Thursday and traveled home later.

These visits are important to bring IFPTE locals together to present our common issues that affect our members as your representatives. IFPTE holds legislative weeks every year and Lee goes to the hill far more frequently either on his own or with our illustrious Matt Biggs of the International to continue discussions and to dive deep into the issues and current legislation.