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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Relationships

As I'd twittered yesterday, I missed a call on my cell from Rep Welch (D-VT-AL).  The phone was on vibrate and I was in the kitchen cleaning.  Yes, cleaning.  Stop laughing.

Anyhoo, Peter left a friendly message, noted his eye-opening trip to Gaza, mentioned that he appreciated my work, and said we should get together in Vermont during the August recess...er, "district work period."  He also noted that a few Members of Congress joined him in requesting PM Netanyahu open up the borders to Gaza, which was one of the things I've been bugging him about.

I've been fairly persistent in building a relationship with the Congressman and his office for about 2 years, particular his scheduler, Jake, and Legislative Assistant, Cal, and it's nice to see that it continues to pay off.  Lobbyists pay for access with money.  We constituents can pay for access, too: with dedication.

Peter did Code Pink a nice favor when we were in the Negev Desert.  Our delegation had been officially denied entrance to Gaza by the Ministry of Defence (well, their Gaza Liaison Office or somesuch), so I called Ericka from Israel and had her contact Cal, asking for help--I did as well.  The next day our Congressman contacted the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and requested that the folks in charge of aid to Gaza to do whatever they could to facilitate our humanitarian work.

We still didn't get in, but access is valuable in pushing our agenda forward even if it doesn't always achieve immediate results.  Lobbyists don't give up and neither should we.

One other thing I've been on Peter about is Afghanistan.  I'd written him about the Supplemental, which he'd originally voted against and was reportedly on the fence about the second go around.  Of course I wanted him to cast a Nay vote again, and Ericka had encouraged Green Mountain Code Pinkers to push him as well.

After our baby doc appointment this evening, I checked our mailbox and found this letter:

I voted against [HR2346, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009] which passed the House on June 16, 2009, 226 to 202.

My vote reflects my skepticism about the government of Afghani President Hamid Karzai...[Corruption] is a threat to the security of Afghanistan that [can't be addressed] by our American military.

I also believe America should be wary of embracing an escalating policy of nation building.  I question whether nation building is a proper role of our military or a reasonable burden to impose on American taxpayers and whether it is an appropriate strategy to enhance our national security.

Now this was one of the usual form letters, 'cept Peter had crossed out "Mr Pritsky" and written "Todd" (with handwriting that's almost as scary as mine), and:

I admit that I'm pleased as punch to get a personalized message, and to have another meeting with my Representative.  I'm also incredibly grateful that Peter ended up going to Gaza, which was a focus of the meeting Ericka and I had with Cal back in May--we really pushed to have him go and see what was happening for himself.

We'll certainly have a lot to catch up on.

ntodd

July 9, 2009 in Pax Americana | Permalink

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Comments

You rock!

Posted by: Hecate, Runnymead Conspirator | Jul 9, 2009 9:31:55 PM

Peace is hard work.....keep it going.

Posted by: Shared Humanity | Jul 9, 2009 9:32:50 PM

Maybe next time you speak with Rep. Welch you can ask him why he voted for the Congressional resolution supporting Israel's slaughter in Gaza earlier this year.

Posted by: Syd B | Jul 9, 2009 9:37:10 PM

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