So today was the big day for me: my virgin flight into the world of Congressional advocacy, as I met with members of Metro Justice at the Federal Building in downtown Rochester to meet with representatives of Louise Slaughter.
So, how’d it go? Well, I can say I was more than a little underwhelmed by my own performance. Strange, since this was a phone meeting and talking on the phone is what I do. But unfortunately, I was more than a little caught off-gaurd by my nerves going into this. Perhaps surrounded in typically opulent federal office building decor, my brain just overloaded. (/snark) Whatever was the case, I managed to get out a stumbling half-minute introduction to the problems presented by the current pay-for-play structure of elections, and little else. I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who have done this kind of thing before.
Not that there was all that much to be worried about. Everyone at Representative Slaughter’s offices was very nice and in fact we really didn’t have much at stake since this was the first meeting on the issue. The woman that we spoke with in DC was Moira Bergin, and she is in fact quite familiar with the national legislation on Clean Money, H.R. 3099. That bill currently has 40 sponsors, of which Rep Slaughter is not one, but with luck that may change. She also informed us that New York’s own Tom Reynolds is also a member of the same committee in the House that is considering the proposed legislation.
Generally, I think that the reception was a positive one. In fact, based on the expectations set by Jon Greenbaum of MJ, one might have even called it above-average. There may have been some confusion as to what, exactly, we were after, but a follow-up letter from Ali should hopefully set things right. The big thing to come away with, in a perfect world, would be Louise Slaughter’s direct, public endorsment of the CMCE effort in New York. Such an endorsement from such a powerful and acknowledgedly principled politician would add a significant weight to our efforts.
But, it was a first meeting, and as such, quite limited in scope. Moira Bergin was quite forthcoming in saying that Rep Slaughter is at least supportive of public election financing in concept, if not yet of the CMCE bill as it exists thus far. Here’s to hoping for big things!
I also got my copy of the MetroJustice newsletter which features, quite surprisingly to me, the article I wrote on the cover. That is quite a thrill and quite an honour. I’ve been published by someone other than me. That newsletter reaches 2000 people in the Rochester area, and hopefully will reach one extra person this go ’round: Representative Louis Slaughter.