Athens For Everyone took a group of nine members to the State Capitol to lobby for progressive causes at the Gold Dome last Monday. We advocated with our legislators about issues like Medicaid Expansion, $15/hr minimum wage, an Independent Redistricting Commission and Marijuana Legalization with the goal of ending mass incarceration. (Want to be able to advocate for these things too? Read our detailed briefs linked to above!)
Lobbying can be intimidating, but after a training the week before by Sara Henderson of Common Cause, as well as reviewing current legislation and going over some helpful tips from past A4E lobbyists, our team was confident and ready to go.
We “worked the ropes” in the morning: we talked to House Minority Leader Bob Trammell about our support for HB 663, a hate crimes bill introduced by the Georgia Black Caucus, and against HB 329, a Flat Tax Bill moving through the house. We also spoke to Senator Frank Ginn in favor of Net Neutrality. Senator Ginn has previously not showed interest in talking to his constituents, but he came out to the ropes after hearing we were from Athens for Everyone: he had just seen our page about him. We might not have the same political views as Senator Ginn, but we are glad he’s started paying attention!
After lunch we had a meeting with Representatives Deborah Gonzalez, Jonathan Wallace, and Spencer Frye. They told us about the work they have been doing in the Capitol, and we thanked Representatives
Gonzalez and Wallace for speaking out against against the ACC Sheriff’s Offices working with ICE. We let our representatives know that Athens for Everyone enthusiastically supports our legislators when they take the kind of bold policy positions that will help transform our state into the one Georgians need and deserve. A4E lobbyists spoke to the need for equity for Georgia’s marginalized communities, ending the racist arrests of black Georgians on marijuana related charges, the importance of marijuana for medical use, affordable childcare, and much more.
Our legislators need to hear from their constituents in order to be able to represent us. Athens for Everyone is proud to lobby for transformative change to the State Capitol, and proud to be fighting for a Georgia that will truly work for everyone.
Athens for Everyone
February 15th, 2018