Blogging About Lobby Day for Animals 2012
Like many animal lovers, I sign petitions and donate funds to the MSPCA, but going to Lobby Day was rewarding in ways I couldn't have imagined. For starters, all the organizers and participants are friendly and committed to helping animals; it's empowering and rewarding just to be part of that group. Plus you don't have to be an expert about any of the animals bills because the organizers give you the written materials to present to your legislators and are available to answer any questions. Linda Huebner and Kara Holmquist, both of the MSPCA, were especially helpful to me.
You're also provided with food, beverages and other goodies to help make your experience at the State House pleasant and rewarding. One of my meetings was with Donna LoConte, Budget Director for State Senator Anthony Petruccelli. Donna not only remembered me from last year, but also took time out from her hectic schedule to talk about pending animal bills with me. She was extremely nice, welcoming, informed, and, as an animal lover herself, was deeply concerned about the various animal issues currently being debated by state lawmakers. She told me that Senator Petruccelli had supported the controversial ban on dog devocalization a few years ago, which, as one of his constituents, I was happy to learn about. I came away from the Lobby Day feeling very uplifted and grateful to have been a part of such an overwhelmingly positive, productive and exciting experience with fellow animal advocates, government officials and lawmakers. I can't wait for the next Lobby Day for Animals!
Lobby Day 2012 was an amazing day of networking with other animal rights supporters and a great way to experience legislative lobbying! It was well organized by the MSPCA, The Humane Society and others including several legislative speakers, such as Senator Jehlen and Representative Coakley-Rivera. They addressed their track record on animal legislation and addressed the current needs of animals today. One of the bills that they discussed was Senate Bill 2192, regarding the ban of carbon monoxide and dioxide euthanasia, a spay/neuter fund and other highly urgent needs for Massachusetts animals. When we sat with the staff of our district’s legislators we found them to be highly supportive of this bill as well as others. They were happy to listen to our pleas and responded positively!
These legislators have the power to influence our state and country in a positive way-all that it takes is a push from their constituents! I am excited to see so many wonderful people at the event this year and can’t wait to see an even higher number next year! It is such an influential way to create change for animals! I hope that anyone interested in animal rights will join us next year!
A few years ago I began working for a non-profit where part of my job was to organize advocacy training for youth. I knew the legislative process but I have to say that, in teaching engaged young people, I became recommitted to what a difference our voices can make. I witnessed first hand how the policy makers in our state respond favorably to citizens who accept and embrace their role to be heard.
Advocacy is an important lesson to learn early on. In participating in various lobby days, I have met many adults (I myself was one of those at one time) who are just learning the process of taking part in government policy. How I wish I had started earlier. Without feedback the election process is pointless; we are leaving decisions solely up to elected officials who have promised to work on our behalf. But how can they if we don’t guide them?
I firmly believe that citizenry needs to be taught at an early age, and therefore introduced the process to my daughter at the age of nine. The MSPCA Lobby Day was a perfect fit for both of us. We were already committed to work at our local shelter and had many companion animals who blessed our lives. From our first annual visit we were convinced, through the education and advocacy training that we received, that we had chosen our best mission and that our opinions mattered. What a beautiful opportunity the MSPCA staff gave us! A day full of personal stories, education on the various bills that we would be addressing, and encouragement to go forth and be part of the process.
My daughter is now fourteen and she has just completed her fifth MSPCA Lobby Day. Last October she had the opportunity to speak at a law enforcement hearing about the animal welfare bill that she focuses on and then wrote about her experience for our local paper. She has gained public speaking skills, confidence in her opinions, and most importantly, that she needs to “be the change”. She has a firm grasp on how to be a citizen and she learned it through the MSPCA. We are eternally grateful...she is an advocate for life!
“I believe that awarding a voice to the voiceless is one of the most important things that I could do while taking part in our government. Attending the annual MSPCA Lobby Day in Boston, MA has been significant in my life since the first time I attended at 9 years old. I’m now fourteen and have learned so much about our state government and the things that I can do to act upon my beliefs and the protection of animals”.
Lastly, please check out Kitty Scibelli's blog about this day: http://dogonmylapdesign.indiemade.com/blog/humane-lobby-day-2012
Thanks for joining us - Bill, Kara with Billy the pittie puppy, Alexis, and Linda