I had the pleasure today of attending Family Foundation Day At The Capitol. This is an event sponsored by The Family Foundation. What was the agenda?
- From 10 – 12 AM we heard speeches from an assortment of our legislators and from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. The legislators included: Delegate Kathy J. Byron, Delegate John M. O’Bannon, III, Senator Stephen D. Newman, and Senator Mark D. Obenshain (my apologies if I missed someone). With additional preparation and pep talk provided by Victoria Cobb, the President of The Family Foundation, her able staff, and key Family Foundation members (see here), we were prepared to visit our legislators.
- From 1 – 3 PM we visited our state senator and delegate.
In my case I had an appointment with Delegate Robert G. Marshall at 1 PM and with Senator Charles J. Colgan at 1:30 PM.
Two of us visited Del. Marshall. The Family Foundation has given Del. Marshall a Pro Family Score of 100 percent (Virginia General Assembly 2008-2009 Report Card, Tenth Edition). Moreover, Del. Marshall has a pro-family reputation that is well-established statewide. So instead of telling Marshall our concerns, we asked him how we could help. Marshall indicated his primary concern is getting HB 10 passed (see WHAT CAN WE DO TO PROTECT OUR HEALTH CARE?). He requested that we ask Senator Colgan to support the bill, and we readily assented.
During our 1:30 PM meeting with Senator Colgan, several other members of The Family Foundation joined us. The good senator greeted us cordially and asked us into his office. We promptly got to business and asked Senator Colgan to support HB 10. To our pleasant surprise Senator Colgan said that he would do so. Had Senator Colgan already decided to support the bill? We did not ask and do not know. Most of the time Senator Colgan and The Family Foundation are on the same side. So we assumed this must be one of those times.
In addition, we brought up other subjects with Senator Colgan. Senator Colgan is regarded as Pro-Life, and we asked him to support Pro-Life legislation. Most that discussion concerned opposition to funding embryonic stem cell research. The subject of education also came up. Senator Colgan expressed support for charter schools, but he suggested that the passage of tax credits for private and home school would be unfeasible. Instead, he offered the alterative of extending Tuition Assistance Grants (now only available for students attending private colleges and universities) to high school students.
So what was the net benefit of Family Foundation Day At The Capitol? Our legislators got to hear from us and see involved citizens concerned about their legislative activities. While there is no way to say whether we changed any particular vote, there is no doubt citizen involvement changes votes. Consider that other groups including Tea Party activists also held an event in Richmond today.
- Tea Party Uses Time Off To Protest
- Groups from across Virginia compete for lawmakers’ attention
- Tea Party floods capitol square, with message to both parties
- Bills would limit federal power
In addition to demonstrating, these groups also visited the offices of their legislators, and their legislators listened, thus proving the wisdom of an old adage.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.