The month of June was a whirlwind for staff and volunteers at Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition. You’ll soon be receiving a newsletter that will give you a good idea of all that’s been happening. My month ended with our crack public policy team in Washington, D.C. to continue to advocate for funding of the federal flood risk management project on Greens Bayou. This is our sixth trip to DC since 2010 in addition to a number of trips to Galveston and Dallas to become more acquainted with the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Our committee chair, Mike Castro, very aptly likens this advocacy process to peeling an onion. Over time we’ve learned more about how the funding process works, how the cycle of appropriations and bills works and who the decision makers are. It feels like peeling a layer back each time we make a visit to DC. We’re becoming more skilled at asking the right questions and presenting the most relevant information.
This year we had our first meeting with the Assistant Secretary of the Army-Civil Works office with the Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Hansen. Visiting the Pentagon was probably the highlight of our trip for everyone concerned. Not only is it an impressive structure, we learned that about 28,000 people work there. We saw drugstores, doctors offices and everything that make it a small city unto itself. After our meeting we had the opportunity to experience the stark and solemn monument to the people who died there on 9/11.
We continue to focus our efforts on all fronts including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the administration (through the Office of Management and Budget) and the the Energy & Water Sub-Committee of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee. Certainly it’s a moving target as staff and members come and go but the project is becoming more familiar to decision makers. We’ve succeeded in putting a “face” on the project and become the voice for those in the community that are impacted by flooding. So, we’ll continue to peel back the layers, learning each time what works and what doesn’t. Our committee will be discussing the strategy of a public letter writing campaign so if that’s something you’d like to be part of, please stay tuned by subscribing to our e-newsletter.
I’m grateful to live in a country where I can freely advocate for change and grateful to have such an energetic and skillful team to lead the charge. As we approach the anniversary of our nation’s founding we all have much to be grateful for. From the board and staff of Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition a happy and safe Independence Day celebration for you and yours!