During the flurry of activity throughout legislative session, there is always one thing that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who works on policy – a good lobby day.
There is nothing better than seeing everyday citizens come down and have their first meetings with their legislators. Almost everyone is intimidated at first. They aren’t sure if they know enough; they try to memorize statistics; they avert their eyes and look to the person in the room who has been to a lobby day before. But then something amazing happens – they find their voice.
Something is said in a meeting that resonates with them, whether it’s something they agree with or not, and then they start to talk. They realize that this legislator they’re speaking with is just a normal person who has a regular day job outside of session; that their legislator is listening to what they have to say, even if they might not always agree with it; and that they don’t have to be an expert on everything…they just have to care.Then for the next couple of hours, there is a buzz around the Capitol campus. People going from building to building, comparing meeting experiences, and scribbling down on report back forms.
Lobby days are really some of the best days in Olympia.This year, WithinReach was excited to have the opportunity for staff and Board members participate in three lobby days – Have a Heart for Kids Day, Hunger Action Day, and the United Way Lobby Day.
Have a Heart for Kids Day is the Children’s Alliance’s lobby day and was full of amazing energy and, in addition to some great meetings, included a rally and a parade. Read about the experience of two of our board members at this Lobby Day by clicking here and here.
Hunger Action Day was the lobby day for the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition (AHNC) and WithinReach was a lead in planning the day. There were nearly 200 participants at Hunger Action Day all of which wore orange scarves so they could be easily seen all around campus. Participants met with legislators or their staff in 127 offices about the AHNC legislative priorities and left a crunchy, orange carrot behind as a reminder of the importance or fighting hunger.
The United Day Lobby Day gave us the opportunity to join in meetings with our partners at United Way of King County to talk about issues we both care about, including Breakfast After the Bell. It was so great to talk with legislators about our many shared priorities.
If you haven’t been to a lobby day before, it’s an experience that every citizen should have. I hope you’ll join us at a lobby day next year!
Advocacy Lobby Days Olympia