Thursday, November 17, 2011

SHRM Lobby Day

Today was really an amazing day.  I am this guy from a relatively small town in the mid-west.  But today I had an impact on the way our country is governed. While my impact may not alter the events of history, it might.  I was one of 900 people who are in Alexandria, VA attending the SHRM Leadership Conference.  Of the 900 more than 400 of us went to Capitol Hill (The US Senate and House of Representative) as citizens but also as members of the Society of Human Resources Management.

We had been coached in what to do, what to say and how to say it. Still, it takes just a little cache to put yourself in front of your elected official (or one of their staffers) and suggest to them how they should vote on a particular piece of legislation and why they should vote that way.  For me part of that process included telling our elected officials how this bill was going to impact me and my employer.

So after preparing us as best they could the SHRM Legislative Affairs gang put their members on buses and hoped for the best.
Rep Schock with Sandra Donelson

My first stop was Representative Aaron Schock's Office.  My partner in crime for this was Sandra Donelson. She too is represented by Rep. Schock.   We were welcomed into the office and spoke to one of Rep. Schock's staffers, Margie Almanza.  She was most cordial and allowed us to present our case on the H.R. 3094 and S 1843.  We made our case - I am not sure how eloquent, but we did our best.  Then we were introduced to Rep Schock.  We got to speak briefly with him, and talk about our concerns and then were offered a photo op with him.  We were happy to accept.

It was the noon hour and Sandra and I split up.  I headed over to the Hart Building where  I was to have a 1 PM meeting wth Senator Durbin or someone from his staff.   I grabbed some lunch in the basement (with the $10 bill provided to me by SHRM - Yes they were handing out money).

I headed up to the seventh floor to Sen Durbin's Office and hooked up with 7 more of my fellow lobbyists. We were invited in right at 1PM as was scheduled.  We did not meet with Sen. Durbin, which was not really much of a surprise.  We met wtih Nathan Sandals, a Legislative Assistant.  He listened to our concerns and allowed us to make our points.  He was extremely non-commital on everything we talked about.  He did ask a couple questions.  He also said he did not know much about SHRM. We educated him about the organization, its mission, its size and strength.  Our meeting wrapped up after about 30 minutes.  I don' t know that we secured any votes on the two measures, but again we did our best.

I feel proud to have done what I did. I feel fortunate to have had the opprotunity to do what I did. And I hope that our visits changed some minds.

I would like to thank the entire SHRM Legislative Affairs Staff: David Lusk, Michael Aitken, Michael Layman and Lisa Horn.  Thank you for putting this together and giving each of us the chance to feel like we are participating in the democratic process.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

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