You Are Welcomed at the Capitol
June 27, 2023 | Sharon Sedlar
As this legislative season comes to a summer break, many are racing toward the finish line, trying to grasp their piece of the budget pie. When we were in Harrisburg last week (pictures down below!), we definitely noticed a palpable, distinct, and focused energy in the hallways, as well as during the time we were fortunate to view the Senate in action from the Gallery.
The time spent waiting for the caucus to break allowed us some special views within the Capitol rotunda – the lobbyists, the community groups and advocates, and other business and political counterparts. We were even fortunate enough to have a pleasant and respectful dialogue with Representative Joe Ciresi in the hallway about our differing views on education choice (Again, thank you to Representative Ciresi!).
But what I am almost always struck by at the Capitol is the hospitality. From Senators and Representatives to Capitol and legislator office staff, to the security personnel and café employees, and so many others – it’s obvious that they are there to help in any way they can. I even noticed a mom with her 2 middle-school aged children, approaching a well-dressed, very professional gentleman to ask a question. Even though he was on what seemed to be a very important telephone call, he placed that person on hold to tell her not only where to find what she needed, but how to get there, what to look for, and very kindly wish her a good day, reassuring her that he would be at that folding table for a while and she should feel free to come back to him if she needed anything else.
I noticed (and have experienced myself), groups and individuals without appointments being guided back to Senator and Representative offices (schedule permitting, of course) – either with the legislator themselves, their Legislative Director, or a member of the office staff.
And that’s the takeaway – our Capitol is a place where we, the constituents, should feel welcome. It is, after all, our building. We shouldn’t fear our legislators, nor advocating for our beliefs. If we don’t tell them what we want (or don’t want), how are they to know how to represent us? They are parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, and fellow community members.
Still not convinced? We can help you with our Advocacy 101 series, recorded last week with guests Marc LeBlond of EdChoice and Abbey Haslam of Commonwealth Foundation. We discuss how legislation is processed and how to find it, what advocacy is, do’s and don’ts in speaking with a legislator, and more.
As we take some time this summer to recharge and refresh, start to think about what’s important to you and your family. Take your love and passion for your families and communities and make things better by advocating for what you believe in. We’ve given you the insight and tools to do it (and welcome you to get in touch with us should you have questions!). Now, onward and upward!