June 12, 2008

The Hill & The Hostel

Hanging out with Barack's staff in DC.

In Obama's office. I was in DC for this. A day I will never forget.

The second to last day of my trip to DC was probably my favorite. It was Lobby Day, and about one hundred (100) of us met with our respective local Representatives and Senators (read: their staff). We met with John Shadegg's office, Raul Grijalva's office, Jon Kyl's office, and Ed Pastor's office (pictured). And about now, you're thinking, "That's great, Sam. But why were you meeting with them?!"

I was pretty proud of this picture. Looks good, doesn't it?

Good question. We were on the Hill to build momentum and gain energy for proposed legislation tentatively titled the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative (NCBI). Sounds like a lot of letters, and potentially boring. But I promise you this legislation is exciting, and could potentially impact your daily life in fantastic ways. Basically, the NCBI would set up an equivalent to the Small Business Administration. This is important because eighty-one percent (81%) of nonprofit organizations have operating budgets of under one million dollars ($1,000,000). And that means that any "back office" type work greatly diminishes the amount of money and energy an organization can use towards the furthering of their mission. So get excited.

Patrick and I in front of the Peoples' House.

On varying degrees, all four of the meetings we had were met with positive remarks. Understandably, Grijalva's and Pastor's people were most excited about it. And while the other meetings were productive, they were a little more reluctant due to all the hub-bub over PAYGO. The National Council of Nonprofit Associations is asking for $25 million fronted by the Government with another $25 million in matching dollars funded by private foundations. That might sound like a lot, but the Small Business Administration had a budget of $678 million last fiscal year. There is plenty of work left to do to move this bill further along the process, but the Lobby Day was a huge first step. Be certain that I'll provide you all the updates you can handle...

I had the bottom bunk. Top bunk was a guy from Latvia who just graduated from college.

After all of those meetings were over, I headed over to 11th and K streets, where my bed for the night was. It was my first experience in a hostel, and I was very pleased. Super cheap, great conversations with people from all over the world, and a wealth of information on local sights and eats off the beaten tourist path.

Is it sacrilege to call this Mecca?

Studio 4a production room. This is where the magic happens.

I was leaving the next day in the early evening, so I knew that most of my afternoon was going to be spent traveling to, and waiting at the airport. Before I left Phoenix, I made sure that I knew the tour schedule of the NPR Headquarters, and made my reservation. It was pretty cool to see where Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Talk Of The Nation are produced, but none of the three were on air when the tour happened, so no picture with Neil Conan...

I learned so much, met scores of amazing people, and have a storage closet full of stories and experiences because of my week in the Capitol City. Thanks for reading along, and living vicariously through my trip!

"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see."
G.K. Chesterton


Candi said...

The first picture on the post makes me so happy! Im glad that you got to go!

Aaron Stiner, DRB said...

My dream is to someday make it onto "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and win Carl Kasell's voice on my home answering machine!

Well, my cell phone voicemail, but same thing!