Last month, I was privileged to accompany Angie to Washington DC for the 2015 Roll on Capitol Hill event. This would be my first trip to DC and also my first trip flying with Angie...hooray adventure time! The pictures turned out poorly*
|Angie, Jamie, and Jenn rolling on Capitol Hill|
Roll on Capitol Hill is an event sponsored by the United Spinal Association allowing people with spinal cord injuries or disabilities to meet with their governmental representatives and advocate for disability rights and disability-helpful legislation. I found the experience very interesting. We were able to meet with Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley. Both of whom, I liked more than I thought I would. I am sure some of that is "being a politician" and being able to tell people what they want to hear, but I don't know that all of it was...I think there was some sincere interest, concern, and understanding. It kills me to say that Joni Ernst actually seemed like a good person, so I discarded all my pig testicle and bread sack jokes un-muttered. Understanding and sincerity does not guarantee support; but hopefully it will leave the legislatures with some positive impressions and influence future support. We met with the staffers of other legislators who were not able to meet in person and dropped off some information for others whom we could not set up meetings. So hopefully a productive trip.
The Senate & House office buildings are very similar many normal office buildings with a few exceptions. Not surprisingly, there is the security...mainly you have to go through a metal detector and have your belongings x-rayed. If you've ever flown or had to go to your local courthouse, you get the idea. I was a little surprised at how easy it actually was. Even though if you were going from building to building and back for meetings; it was a little tiring. The other thing that stood out was that every office door was flanked by flags. Lest anyone doubt their patriotism everyone had a United States flag and usually their State flag on the other. However, some offices had more flags - flags for an armed service branch they may have served in, the POW/MIA flag, flags for various other local organizations that they Senators & Representatives supported...but as we walked from appointment to appointment, I only saw one Gadsden flag being flown (the "Don't Tread On Me" flag). Thank you Steve King for living up to my preconceived notions (at least partially)...stay classy. Steve's staff was nice and he did already support one of he bills we were advocating for...so I guess that counteracts some of my preconceived notions.
*more on that later