Every year the League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) plans a trip to the United States Capitol to lobby their senators and representatives with long-serving LWVUS Lobby Corps Chair and member, Carole Conors. This event offers LWVMD members an insider’s view of Capitol Hill. It includes intimate meetings with the busy legislators and staff of the Maryland delegation to Washington D.C. In this current climate of renewed political activism, the LWVMD group that visited Capitol Hill reached 19 members, and sometimes called for creative seat-arrangement adjustments in order for the legislators’ offices to receive this energized bunch of Leaguers.
This year, LWV asked us to discuss two topics with our legislators - resist the termination or defunding of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) with HR 634, and protect much needed aspects of the current law of the land in healthcare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Armed with pre-visit briefings from Carole, Leaguers asked our senators and representatives what they were going to do about efforts to terminate the only bipartisan federal entity dedicated to improving election administration. After the allegations tossed around in the most recent election, we can all agree that the EAC’s work to study and improve the reliability and efficacy of our election systems across the nation is a critical cog in our democracy.
Moving on from this topic, we waded into the highly-publicized and complex issue of healthcare. We made it known that LWV members across the nation, not just in Maryland, want them to push for a fix to the ACA, rather than a substitute. Most of all, we want our representatives never to forget that this issue is about people - flesh and blood - not objects or abstract ideas.
In a rare turn of events, the Leaguers on the Hill were escorted to the Capitol Building itself to meet with Congressman Elijah Cummings in between floor votes. This gave Leaguers a full view into the tightly-packed schedules of our hard-working representatives, and their attempts to always meet with and hear from their constituents, and voices like the League, whenever possible. (1)
The Leaguers were very inspired and invigorated by their visit to the Hill. In all, LWVMD representatives were able to present League issues to the offices of both senators, and all eight representatives, with constituents from each district present. The League is very grateful to all of the staffers and legislators who took time out of their busy schedules to listen to, and inform us. We look forward to continuing to Make Democracy Work at all levels of government, local, state, and national.
(1) In addition to Congressman Cummings (7th), Senator Cardin & Congressman John Sarbanes (3rd), Anthony Brown (4th), and Jamie Raskin (8th) were all able to meet with MD Leaguers in person. In the offices of Senator Chris Van Hollen & Congressmen Andy Harris (1st), Dutch Ruppersberger (2nd), Steny Hoyer (5th), and John Delaney (6th) knowledgeable staffers were there to receive LWVMD.