Seeing both sides of lobbying: From the Hill to CCL

Seeing both sides of lobbying: From the Hill to CCL

Jenn Tyler, current Senior Director of Government Affairs, worked on the Hill for seven years before joining CCL. Her first interactions with CCL were as a staffer, as she watched the magic of CCL volunteers from the outside. Watch Jenn tell her story here, beginning at 2:50, or read below.

 

The last time CCL lobbied in person in June, I was actually on the other side of things. I was a Hill staffer, so I was taking the meeting with CCL volunteers and my former boss. 

And of course, the meeting went perfectly. The CCL volunteers were so informed, so educated, so respectful. By that point, we had already formed a really close relationship with our volunteers in the district, so most of the meeting was talking about local sports. But eventually we got to the substantive policy, and we co-sponsored the supporting ask, and we got further on the primary. So it was another great meeting — one of many. 

But what really struck me was what happened outside of the meeting. I was staffing my boss that day and we had a number of hearings, so we had to run in, grab food and run back to the office. And everywhere we went — every elevator, every hallway — there were CCL volunteers. 

And at the time as a staffer, I was trying to get my boss where he needed to go on time, so I was a little annoyed that he stopped at every single opportunity to talk to the CCLers. But nonetheless, every volunteer was so warm, so welcoming, so respectful, so engaged, even if they had no idea who my boss was, or even more so they knew who he was and maybe they didn’t agree with him. They were just the pinnacle of respect. 

And the last stop, we went to the cafeteria and on our way out, my boss turned around and looked back and said, “Oh my god, they really are everywhere.” The whole cafeteria, all of Longworth cafeteria and in every corner was a CCLer with a name badge on and dressed to the nines. And it really was something to see. 

I can’t overstate how important it is that we show up in the numbers we show up in. We come with open hearts. We come trying to find common ground. We come trying to talk to our member of Congress who is our neighbor, who is our community member, and act on meaningful climate policy. And that’s not a common thing on the Hill. So we really are one of the few groups, and I think this is where we shine. This is our strong suit – showing up in person, showing our commitment, the sacrifice you all have made to be here and the kind of nature, the kind of values we have as an organization.

Want to lobby Congress with CCL? Plan to attend one of our upcoming climate change conferences.