For policy wonks like me, 2016 is off to an exciting start. Congress wrapped up 2015 without shutting down the government, a threat of falling off a “fiscal cliff” is no longer looming, and there is a new speaker of the House. Of course this year there is a presidential election and a number of lawmakers have announced their retirements at the end of this congressional session, providing an opportunity for Goodwill® advocates to make new connections with policymakers.
With an early summer recess scheduled and the political conventions and campaigning in the fall, there is a short window for much to be accomplished during the second session of the 114th Congress. In fact, the House has just over 110 legislative voting days on its calendar. Yet, that hasn’t stopped Congressional leaders from noting their priorities.
Issues among those priorities which Goodwill will be watching closely include:
- minimum wage
- workforce development and job training bills
- tax reform
- criminal justice reform
- post-secondary education issues
- career and technical education
- changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
Many of these issues are also hot topics for state lawmakers to tackle this year. During next week’s State of the Union address, we’ll learn more about the priorities for the administration during President Obama’s final year in office.
While my colleagues and I will follow these issues and proactively engage with stakeholders, we can’t be successful without advocates like you. There are a few resolutions that you can make this year to be an effective advocate and help advance issues that affect Goodwill and the people we serve:
- Register for our Legislative Action Center: You’ll receive the latest updates on our issues and can communicate with you Member of Congress through our action alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter: Join local Goodwill agencies, advocates, lawmakers, coalition members and others and follow us on @GoodwillCapHill.
- Participate in our Virtual Advocacy Day: On April 12, Goodwill advocates from around the country will hit the Hill to talk with lawmakers. Save the date to join us virtually.
- Meet with your lawmakers at home: Many members are hosting Town Hall meetings or you can visit them in the district offices.
- Learn more about an issue in your community: Attend council meetings, volunteer with organizations, expand your network as you educate yourself about issues that affect your life.
No matter what you resolve to do, if you find an issue that you are passionate about you can quickly become an advocate.