CSMG Day 4: Capitol Hill

This was the capstone of the experience of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.  Having been briefed the day before about legislative procedures and issues, I was ready to jump in!

The day began with a closing mass and continental breakfast.  I had the privilege of sharing my experience via FaceTime with some young Lasallians at Mullen High School in Denver.  They did great for it being 8am and discussing social justice!  It was great to make additional Lasallian connections and share the journey with those that are going to be eligible to vote for the first time in 2018!  They don’t have to start off with a presidential election, jump right in!

After that it was off to Union Station to figure out how to store some luggage. Side note- I did figure it out.

First legislative visit of the day was with Representative Dave Loebsack from Iowa.  He represents the district that the Sisters of St. Francis Clinton, Iowa call home.  I also was attending with a new friend so that she did not have to attend alone.  We got all our talking points in and kept them ahead of schedule!

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Next up, crossing from the House of Representatives offices to the other side of the Capitol where the Senate offices reside.

Then, in the middle of the chaos that working on Capitol Hill entails, this cool cat took time to say hi and show me around. What a guy!

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I’m calling it now- future Secretary of Energy! It’s an incredible thing to see the young people you’ve worked with become policy makers and advocates.  Senator Thune (R-SD) is blessed to have you on his team!

Next up- Senator Durbin’s office! Guess what? That massive DACA postcard party from the fall? They received those and are grateful for our input.  Senator Durbin has worked tirelessly, particularly with Senator Graham (R-SC), to come to a bipartisan solution for DACA recipients and the Dreamers. All I can say is GO DURBIN, GO!

Here’s a picture of the delegation from Illinois with his staff:

Next up- Senator Duckworth’s office! This was where we hit a little bump in the road… We were waiting in a conference room for over a half hour.  Apparently there was a scheduling mix up.  However, our Illinois delegation made the most of it with lots of dad jokes. My favorite? “Did you hear the rumor about butter? I’d tell you but I don’t want to spread it around.”  At that point I chimed in with a “Gee, you’re really churning them out.” Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself…

No pictures with Duckworth’s staff because we were off to the closing reception with Cardinal DiNardo (President of the USCCB).  I was incredibly moved by two things: 1- Senator Rubio was originally scheduled to be present however due to a death, him and his staff were at a funeral.  I don’t know who or what or the circumstances, but I find that very humanizing in a polarized environment.  2- Senator Donnelly’s remarks were so moving about our call to be missionary disciples.  A graduate of Notre Dame, he’s doing his alma mater proud!

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After that it was off to a crowded MARC train, an early check in at the airport, then blissfully back home.

I’m amazed at the pace in DC and how everyone keeps it up day in and day out.  Senator Duckworth was unavailable to be present with us because she was making some powerful statements on the floor of the Senate!

The times they are a-changin’!

And finally I’d like to close with some inspiration from last evening’s mass:

Peace and all good!

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