Yep, I decided to go to Washington D.C.
Yep, I left last Saturday afternoon in order to miss the "BIG SNOW" and make a Monday meeting in Indy before leaving very early for D.C.
NOPE! It barely snowed here or there, but it did lay down some ice, so I feel justified in spending a lovely day and a half in Indy with my cousin and her husband who spoiled me rotten. It was a good thing they did because I hit the ground Monday running, and it was a marathon race to the end of Thursday night at 11:35 p.m. when I finally pulled back in our garage!
I've told you I am President of Benton County Farm Bureau right? Nope? Well, I am, and nope, I don't sell insurance. My group is infarmbureau.org, and you can look at us as a sibling of the insurance company. We are the "farm" part of Farm Bureau, and one of our jobs is to lobby for good agriculture legislation at the State House and up on Capitol Hill. This visit did put me right in the middle of my not so comfortable zone, but it was a great learning experience, and we all need a better understanding of our government.
The first day we were hit with A LOT of information on the following issues:
1. Ag Labor: Immigration Reform
2. Clean Water Act: Definition of "Waters of the US"
3. Sound Science and Access to Biotechnology
4. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
5. Tax Reform: Cash Accounting and Section 179 Small Business Expensing
See? Brain overload, but much of it really did start making sense to me. So after a wonderful seafood buffet that we shared with about 200 middle school kids, (glad I decided NOT to eat dessert!), we went to bed with all sorts of laws, bills, and amendments dancing in our heads.....that and a little train music from the tracks outside our window and construction outside our rooms.
Wednesday, after a couple more speakers on our issues, we were off to The Hill. We even hailed taxis! That is not something I do not every day, week, month, or year for that matter!
We were able to stroll around the Capitol for just a bit, then we met with Senator Dan Coats.
Next on our list was a visit with Senator Joe Donnelly. Shelby Sigma, one of two Indiana FFA officers traveling with us, joined me in this picture. She is a 2013 graduate of Benton Central High School.
Then we all went out for the usual group shot. While we were posing, the VP was zipping in and out of the Capitol just off to our right.
For lunch, we broke off into our legislative districts to meet with our House of Representative, Todd Rokita. One of his staff members took our picture, so I do not have one of those to share, but US Rep. Rokita took the time to talk with us between votes and even escorted us to the House Chambers to listen to discussions of amendments and business going on on the floor. It was very interesting, but I am going to do you all a favor and tell you to leave all pins and metal tags/jewelry and such in your hotel room. It was very time consuming to remove and repin every time we went through security, which was SEVERAL times!
One cool moment occurred as we ate lunch in the tunnels under the House of Representatives building. A gentleman sat down beside us, and well, being from Indiana, we just naturally struck up a conversation with him. He was an astrophysicist from Boulder, Colorado. You would think once we got past the weather, we would run out of things to talk about, BUT we actually had one big topic in common.......GPS! Part of his work involves the satalites in space that we use to communicate locations and lines in our fields! That was very interesting.
Next post will be a big picture post on what we saw in DC, and then I am going to share a great Giveaway from a VERY WELL KNOWN company who publishes WONDERFUL cookbooks. Stay tuned; you could win one of this books for your very own! Have a great Tuesday!