GCA ’s National Affairs and Legislation Committee held its annual conference in Washington DC February 24-27. The annual conference is held to educate members about GCA’s legislative priorities, and assist delegates in effective lobbying about current issues. A new policy paper on Oceans was presented this year. See paper at this link.
Sunday the 24th involved advocacy training and legislative updates.
The second day was packed with compelling experts speaking on such topics as climate change, wildfires, ocean health, sustainable food choices, Audubon Society, the Botany Bill, Partners for Plants, Healthy Yard Project, National Scenic Byways bill.
The third day was spent on the Hill in the Congressional Auditorium, starting with the good news that the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill was going to be passed by the House later that day. We had presentations about an organization called C-Change Conversations, who promote non-partisan discussion about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Fifteen Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle came to speak to us about various environmental issues.
On the fourth day, Jennifer and Holly joined other delegates from California at our Senators’ offices to advocate for the Botany Bill, the Scenic Byways Bill, and to the Restore Our National Parks Act. Kamala Harris’ highly competent policy advisor, Ike Irby, was receptive to our presentations and offered insightful comments on how some of this legislation might be moved forward. While meeting with Alexis Segal, Diane Feinstein’s Legislative Assistant for Environmental Issues, the senator herself popped in briefly to greet us! The meeting then continued, with confirmation of Senator Feinstein’s support for our agenda, and with some education about some ocean protections planned.
This conference made me proud to be a member of the GCA and more aware of the impact we can have as members upon important environmental issues of concern to us.