More than 225 SHRM members visited the offices of their two senators and representative to discuss health care reform and the need to reauthorize Section 127 employer-provided educational assistance (set to expire at the end of this year).
Two of these SHRM members were Althea DeBeer, PHR, and Nonita Fortman, PHR. Fortman and DeBeer are members of Central Coast Human Resources Association in Monterey, California. Here’s what they said about their visit to Capitol Hill:
“A major highlight of the conference was the opportunity we had to visit the congressional offices of our U.S. senators and representative. After being advised during the ‘How to Lobby Your Member of Congress’ session of the do’s and don’ts of meeting with our representatives, we were prepared to expect short and quick visits with our legislators due to their very busy schedules — particularly the debate on health care reform underway in the House of Representatives.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were hard at work in the Senate, which was considering legislation to improve air traffic control capabilities at our airports, so both were unavailable to meet personally. However, we did meet with their staff members who were well-versed on health care and Section 127 employer-provided educational benefits — the two subjects we talked about in our meetings.
Nonita Fortman, PHR, and Althea DeBeer, PHR, in the Capitol Rotunda
When we reached the office of Congressman Sam Farr, our representative from the 17th district in California, we were able to meet with him briefly between votes on health care reform. Congressman Farr took the time to discuss the health care reform bill with us and to hear our concerns about the legislation.
He also went ‘above and beyond’ by escorting us personally to the House chamber to observe the health care debate. He explained the voting process, the rules of parliamentary procedure, motions that were currently on the floor for a vote, and the interaction of representatives on the floor. Once the voting concluded (on three separate motions), Congressman Farr personally took our group on a tour of the Capitol including the rotunda, which had been closed to the public.
This experience is one that we will never forget and will highly recommend to fellow human resource colleagues. This is definitely one of the best conferences organized and hosted by SHRM.”