Friday, July 25, 2008

Visit to Durbin's Office: July 15, 2008

I suppose this is second in a series...a write-up my RESULTS lobby visits to my members of Congress...

After Obama's office we trotted over to Senator Richard Durbin's office to meet with 2 of his aides. His office is much different than Obama's. A little fancier in the furnishings...a flat screen TV showing CSPAN-2 in the lobby which houses two receptionists instead of one. When we walked in, Senator Demint was speaking against the existing Lantos-Hyde global health bill and in support of one of the amendments...I forget which. The three of us gathered around the TV making various grumbling noises. One receptionist politely offered us seats and we all said "NO!, we mean, we're fine...we're good...umm...that's our bill they're talking about...sorry..."

We were admitted in to speak with two foreign policy aides who work together. Very nice and warm people. We gave our thank you's for Durbin: Global Poverty Act support, general support for fighting against TB, and I couldn't resist throwing in a Farm Bill thank you as well since I had written an LTE in the Wash Times about that. We gave him the same requests about Lantos-Hyde and appropriations (see yesterday's post) and asked him to speak to his colleagues in support of the GPA. The conversation with these aides was much more back-and-forth than with Obama's aide. They asked about what requests we would make of the representatives we'd be seeing later, so we told them about a micro-finance letter to the World Bank that would be circulating for the reps to sign. We'd be asking for them to sign onto that and to co-sponsor a Congressional Medal for Mohammed Yunus for his micro-finance work. This was my favorite part of the meeting. One of the aides asked for our help on that Medal ask since it was his job to contact all the IL reps office's on behalf of Durbin to convince them to sign on. It felt really good to be able to do that aide a a real working relationship. Perhaps a small thing, but I like to think we are working with them in partnership!

Anyway, we hustled out of there right after the meeting ended and got up to the top of the Senate as quickly as we could. I feel so lucky that we got there in time to see Durbin giving his closing remarks on a speech in support of Lantos-Hyde and specifically in support of fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. It was a mere hours before the vote. He was speaking to a largely empty room on the floor unfortunately, but anyone watching CSPAN-2 was getting it! We couldn't say anything of course, but had he looked up into the gallery, he would have seen our silent applause and fist pumping at the end. I feel so lucky to have Durbin as my senator!

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