Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lobby Day (s) in New Mexico

Daniel Erdman, Graham Golden, Patricia Dominguez (Sen. Bingaman's office), Carlos Navarro, Suzanne Berman (CARE)

The cost of an airline ticket from Albuquerque to Washington, D.C., is not cheap.  There is also a time commitment involved and having to set aside other family or professional plans. This means that only two of us (Graham Golden and I) will be participating in Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on June 14, which comes on the final day of the National Gathering.
Pre-Lobby Day visits
But Lobby Day does not have to be confined to Washington. And it doesn't have to be confined to June 14. In fact, we have already had three "Lobby Days," and are planning more in the summer or fall.

Ellen Young and LaVerne Kaufman met with Xochitl Torres-Small of Sen. Tom Udall's staff in Las Cruces in early May.  

And at the end of May, CARE and Bread had joint meetings with staff members of Sen. Udall (Bill Woldman) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (Patricia Dominguez).  Participating in the Albuquerque meetings were Daniel Erdman (pastor of Iglesia Congregacional Unida)  Graham Golden (a Norbertine brother who works in the social justice office of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe), Suzanne Berman (a regional organizer for CARE), and me.  It was great to have Suzanne along because she was once on the staff of Bread for the World!

In all three meetings, we asked for support from the senators for maintaining funding for programs related to poverty-focused development assistance.  We also asked the senators that Congress not balance the budget on the backs of the poor.  And in the Albuquerque meetings, Suzanne spoke about how CARE and Bread for the World often support some of the same issues.  Bread's broad efforts on foreign aid reform benefit CARE-sponsored programs on gender equity, education, microcredit/micosavings.

Post-Lobby Day Meetings
On Lobby Day, Graham and I will try to visit the offices of both our senators and Reps. Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan and Steve Pearce.   After Lobby Day, we hope to try to arrange meetings to local offices of Rep. Heinrich (Albuquerque), Rep. Pearce (Las Cruces), and Rep. Lujan (Santa Fe and Rio Rancho) and Sen. Bingaman (Santa Fe).   

Please let us know if you would like to participate in any of those meetings. 

And in the meantime, watch this space for reports from Lobby Day!

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