What to expect from Congressional Education Day: Day 1

Congressional Education Day lobbying climate conference Washington D.C.

What to expect from Congressional Education Day: Day 1

By Flannery Winchester

In less than two months, hundreds of CCL volunteers will be waking up in the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. for the 4th annual Congressional Education Day. It’s a two-day event full of education, fun and lobbying Congress for much-needed climate action.

The conference begins with opportunities to connect with each other and to hone our lobbying skills, including several new optional activities for you to dig in a little deeper. Here’s what you can expect from your first action-packed day before we head to the Hill:

Sunday night movie and panel

For those of you who just can’t wait to get started, you can jump in to the conference early on Sunday night. We’re hosting a screening of the new Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral” and a panel discussion on the evening of the 12th. This is completely optional, but for anyone arriving to Washington D.C. on Sunday, it will be a great opportunity to spend time together, enjoy a powerful film, and learn something new from our expert panel. (You can also pre-register at this event and skip the lines Monday morning!)

Conference kick-off with Mark Reynolds

At 9 a.m., we’ll gather in the hotel’s Blue Room for an introduction from CCL’s Executive Director Mark Reynolds, who has been steering the CCL ship since 2009. “I’m just so inspired by the dedication, enthusiasm and love we’ve seen from our volunteers over the years,” Mark said.

Thanks to those amazing volunteers, CCL has grown from just a handful of chapters to 425 U.S. and international chapters today. Last year alone, CCL generated more than 40,000 letters to Congress and 2850 pieces of published media, all showing the political will that exists for Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation. Plus, this fall marks CCL’s 10th anniversary.

Mark’s kick-off talk will celebrate and appreciate all those efforts, and he’ll remind us where we’re ultimately headed: a livable world with a stable climate. Mark said, “I can’t wait to celebrate an incredible 10 years in November and to continue the work of creating a brighter future together.”

Morning breakout sessions

Brand new this year, you can choose from three optional sessions at 9:30 a.m. depending on your volunteer role. Regional and state coordinators have a specialized session just for them. Volunteers who have not participated in the Climate Advocate Training (formerly Group Start Workshop) should attend that workshop with Elli Sparks and Brett Cease. “The Climate Advocate Training workshop is such a wonderful experience! New volunteers say it’s one of their favorite part of the conference,” Elli said.

Through storytelling and discussion, this training will teach you about CCL’s methods and vision. “I love telling the story of how my chapter met with the office of the then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,” Elli said. This workshop will also help you find your role so you can hit the ground running and be the most effective volunteer as possible.

The third session option at this time—if you plan to be in D.C. before lunch—is a messaging workshop led by Stephanie Doyle and Jim Tolbert. It will address both progressive and conservative messaging, equipping you to talk to people of any political persuasion about CCL’s climate solution.

Lobbying training

After you grab lunch (with a few new friends, hopefully!) the rest of the day includes two lobbying training sessions at 1:30 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. During these sessions, you’ll learn about the respectful, appreciative approach we take with every member of Congress. You’ll also get an update on carbon pricing legislation in Congress, CCL’s overall strategy, and our June Analysis.

The June Analysis will be presented by Dr. Danny Richter, CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs. Danny has called the June Analysis “a valuable resource that no other group provides.” It lets all the congressional offices know where Congress as a whole stands on issues like carbon pricing, the dividend, the border adjustment and more. The response on the Hill is always “very positive,” Danny said, because we’re “showing MoCs that CCL volunteers really are a resource. Everyone wants to be a resource—CCL volunteers really can deliver.” The June Analysis is the cornerstone of our lobbying effort in November.

If you can’t make it to Congressional Education Day this year, you can learn about CCL’s lobbying approach on CCL Community. We have webinars on lobbying at all levels, from Lobbying 101 to Advanced Lobbying. If you’ll be at the conference, you can get all of this information and training firsthand—and then get ready to put it into practice on Day 2.

Check out Monday’s full schedule, and register for the conference if you haven’t already!

Flannery Winchester
Flannery Winchester has put her words to work for magazines, for marketing agencies, and now for our earth as CCL's Communications Director. She is grateful to spend every day working to preserve this beautiful planet.
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