Perspectives on the 2015 Iowa Anti-Hunger Day on the Hill
The morning breakfast in the rotunda was a great setting for legislators and advocates to talk. Everyone was able to discuss the problem of hunger without the pressures of scheduled meetings. As I was working the registration table for the beginning portion of the morning, I sincerely enjoyed getting to meet the advocates who came to support our cause. The legislators I was able to talk to (before I had to leave for class) were both enthusiastic and excited to speak to everyone.
The afternoon was spent in meetings with leaders from the House and Senate, as well as the governor’s office. Senate and House leadership both seemed open to discussion but referenced the tight budget.
Overall, the day was a great way to raise awareness about our legislative priorities this year. The direct interaction between constituents and their legislators certainly helped to gain a human element to our cause. Yes, hunger directly affects each of Iowa’s 99 counties, but sometimes it is easy to forget the people behind the cause, and instead focus on how tight the budget is or political differences. Bringing in people who are passionate about hunger and represent Iowa’s many food banks was a great way to remind legislators about just how many people are affected daily by hunger in Iowa.
The Day on the Hill was also a great learning experience. Though I’ve taken classes about the legislative process, it’s certainly a different experience to see the process at work. I witnessed the importance of effective teamwork, and saw how great of a difference it can make. On a more personal note, I also learned how difficult it was to find parking at the Capitol in the afternoon. The Day on the Hill event was a great way to meet Iowa’s legislators and fellow hungers advocates, as well as learn more about how things run at the Capitol.
Submitted by Lauren Attewell, IFBA Policy & Advocacy Intern