This past weekend I was presenting a paper at the Academy of Human Resource Development annual International conference held in Washington D.C. I had a few pockets of free time in the conference schedule, so I contacted Congressman Marlin Stutzman’s office (IN-3). I was able to get a meeting with him and one of his staffers. While the content of the meeting revolved around higher education finance reform, what I walked away with was a profound respect for Congressman Stutzman and the work he does. He is very well connected to his Indiana district (3rd), and he is open and honest about his positions. He was very attentive and open; he even left a committee meeting early to ensure he was able to meet with me. He did not act rushed or hurried, but rather he seemed genuinely interested in connecting with a member of his district.
Why do I bother making an entry about this meeting? Because it is easy for us to think of Washington as “them” rather than “us.” Yet, there is at least one congressman (and he assures many more as well on both sides of the aisle) that will truly listen and dialogue. As leaders, we should take an active role in letting our congressman know of the issues we face and the ideas we have. Take the time to contact your congressman, senators, and other political leaders at all levels. As leaders, if we do not put in the effort to make our voice heard, we cannot lament the results of our silence.