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Legislative visits

Posted by katewillette on April 15, 2008

So, I was a slacker about making appointments to see my Senators, but I go anyway. There’s a directory of senators hanging on the wall of the building where we had the briefing, and it says that Cantwell is in the Hart building.  The security guard tells me it’s four blocks up the street, so I head up there.  Past the Library of Congress, (which I feel tugging at me but resist).  Past the Supreme Court, where I send warm thoughts toward all the liberals and pray for their continuing health . . . there are about 200 people standing in line; the doors must be about to open for the day.  No protestors of any kind out front.  Keep going, thread my way through a tour group of British teenagers who are joking about their hotel in charming accents.  Catch up with Sue Maus’s mom and aunt—her aunt is my new favorite person.

She’s a Minnesotan to the core, full of sardonic remarks but with a huge warm heart about half an inch below the surface.  She’s a good-sized woman with a mess of red curls, wearing a purple windbreaker – the polar opposite of a trim haircut in a dark suit. ☺  So, I give them a hello and hurry on past to get to the Hart building–only to find that Cantwell has moved to the Dirksen since they made that directory . . . this is one of those things that would be so annoying if Bruce were with me—just getting to these places can be such a challenge.  So, I go over to the Dirksen, which is kind of next door, and find her office.

This is how it goes: I ask the kid behind the desk if I can just leave a message for the senator  . . . when I’ve told him what it is, he volunteers to try to find me someone to talk with.  Great!  So I wait a few minutes and then a person who seems to be about 22 comes in.  He knows all about CDRPA, and he says it’s one of the things the senator wants to take some time to think about . . . okay, what’s her concern?  He says that she doesn’t like the idea of giving instructions to the NIH about how to use their time or money.  I say that I’m not the person who could best answer that concern, but that I’ll make sure someone who is either briefs me or calls him directly.  The next –most important—thing is to get his card and enter his number into my cell phone.  This way I can reach out and touch him whenever I feel the urge, you know? I learned this from Donna Sullivan, who leaned on her own representatives so persistently that they gave.  If any of you are from WA state, here’s the name: Mark Iozzi.  His number is 202 224-3441.  His email is mark_iozzi@cantwell.senate.gov  Oh, and the kid behind the desk is named Dave; he graduated last year from the same college where our firstborn is a sophomore, Western Washington University.  If you call the main number for Cantwell’s office, he’ll probably answer.  Be nice to him, he’s a sweetie.

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