My Nation’s Capitol Experience

#MediaMonday – Nancy Puffer
March 13, 2017
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March 15, 2017
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My business travels earlier this month took me to Washington, D.C.  I was attending the Native American Indian Housing Council’s legislative conference with one of our clients.  I’ve been to DC a half-a-dozen times for business, but never did the business intersect with the legislative process.

In addition to listening to presentations and updates on what is happening in housing in Indian Country across the United States, we had the opportunity to participate in senate and house committee meetings.  Now I’ve attended city council meetings, public hearings and committee hearings at the local and state level.  It might not seem all that different at the federal level, until you remember that what is being discussed in the hallowed halls of the House and the Senate not only impact us as a nation, but impact us in our home states as well.

Some observations:

  • Meetings will start on time and for the most part end on time. To the best of the chair’s ability, Robert’s Rules of Order are followed.
  • All members of the committee want a chance to be heard. It is up the chair to keep close track of the time to ensure that happens.
  • The staffers that work for our elected officials know as much (maybe more) about the issues facing their home states. Don’t overlook them  -- they may very well be the only way in to see your congressman.
  • It is up to us to hold our elected officials accountable. Lots of promises are made, deals confirmed, opportunities discussed.  We need to make sure we don’t let them forget what they said.

There were a few days where I didn’t need to get to a meeting till early afternoon.  This is a very walkable city so I took advantage of the time to stroll a bit.

Some observations:

  • DC is really a very friendly city. People smiled as I walked by.  Signs posted in front yards welcomed newcomers to the neighborhood.
  • Plenty of Starbucks on every corner, but some really great local coffee places worth trying.
  • Pick a food group and you will have several choices to pick from.

The District, as the locals refer to it, is full of hustle and bustle.  I may not always agree with what our elected leaders are doing but that in no way diminishes the sense of pride I felt when I looked around and know that history is made here each and every day.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

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