By Chris Hunsinger, PCB President
2021 is coming and that means ACB mid-year meetings and Legislative Seminar. Hold the phone! We don’t have to go anywhere. Everything will be virtual including our visits to our members of congress.
If the travel and the physical challenges involved in this venture have stopped you from attending in the past, this may be your year to get that legislative experience, and you might then want to do it again in the future. This could even be good training for peers who want to become more involved with state legislative efforts or local county and municipal efforts. It’s true that you won’t be able to enjoy talking to ACB members from all over the country quite as much during a virtual event, but the whole process is empowering, educational, and enlightening.
The schedule isn’t out yet, but it is expected that we will be able to make appointments over a period of time with offices instead of scheduling on one particular day. We will try to make sure that we have peers from each legislative district at any virtual office meeting, email information about the legislative imperatives to the appropriate staff member, bring ACB national leadership to the meeting if appropriate, and save PCB travel and meal money. No more whirlwind day with aching feet after walking five- or six-miles visiting offices and handing out paperwork, and we won’t have to try to get to all of them in one day.
We also don’t yet know what ACB will determine to be the national legislative imperatives for 2021, but that information is expected by early January. It is expected that there will be two days of virtual meetings on Monday, February 22 and Tuesday, February 23. The time of day and length of these ACB meetings have not yet been determined.
ACB believes that we will then have meetings scheduled with members of Congress from February 24 onward until we talk to everyone we hope to reach.
The Advocacy and Governmental Affairs team is asking for assistance from peers throughout PCB. We won’t expect you first time seminar attendees to do any of this on your own. An experienced Capitol Hill veteran will help schedule appointments and go to each meeting, but we would like to have additional peers to attend the seminar and each virtual meeting with us. It would be great if we knew that we had someone from each congressional district as part of this team. We would like to have a mix of peers who will talk about policy as well as peers with meaningful personal stories that highlight our special blindness concerns.
Since we won’t have to make travel plans, we have made the deadline as January 24, 2021 for submitting your request to participate.
Any PCB peer wishing to represent the organization at this upcoming event should submit a brief resume and/or bio to the Legislative Seminar Selection Committee (LSSC) outlining their qualifications as a representative and describing why they want to attend. The resume may be submitted in any accessible format, including, but not limited to, email, braille, large print, or audio. Email applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with all other formats mailed to:
PA Council of the Blind
PO Box 18322
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-4122
The final selections will be made before January 30. We will try to accommodate all who want to participate because you and PCB only have to spend time, not money, on this project.
For more information about this opportunity, contact Chris Hunsinger at 412-881-9328.