Foreign Service Journal - November 2013 - page 53

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2013
53
AFSA NEWS
Since the new Governing
Board took office in July,
AFSA has made a commit-
ment to enhance its presence
on Capitol Hill. As stated by
President Bob Silverman in
his October President’s Views
column, AFSA’s board and
staff are energized and eager
to engage Congress on the
issues and realities Foreign
Service employees and their
families care about.
CONGRESS I ONAL
OUTREACH
AFSA has positioned itself
as the go-to resource when
it comes to matters affecting
the foreign affairs agencies.
By further strengthening
our ties to our congressional
friends and supporters from
both sides of the aisle—such
as Sen. Lindsey Graham,
R-S.C., Rep. Chris Van Hol-
len, D-Md., and Rep. Gerry
Connolly, D-Va., to name a
few—we continue to build on
the legacy and leadership of
previous boards.
We have expanded our
monitoring efforts from four
congressional committees
(authorizers and appropria-
tors) to 12, and increased our
congressional staff database
to more than 200 members,
all of whom have a vested
interest in foreign affairs,
government oversight and
federal workforce issues.
With the start of the 113th
Congress, AFSA is focus-
ing its energies on inform-
ing the more than 80 new
members and their staffs
of the critical role Foreign
Service employees play in
protecting national security
and promoting economic
development while serving
abroad, while we continue to
strengthen our relationships
with such congressional
leaders as Senate Foreign
Relations Committee Chair-
man Bob Menendez, D-N.J.,
Senate Committee on Appro-
priations Chairman Barbara
Mikulski, D-Md., House
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif.,
and House Committee on
Appropriations Ranking
Member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.,
among numerous others.
We persist in concentrat-
ing our lobbying efforts on
personnel security, the inter-
national affairs budget and
employee rights, along with
other issues affecting the five
foreign affairs agencies we
represent.
AFSA representatives
recently met with House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor,
R-Va., Senate Foreign Rela-
tions Committee Ranking
Member Bob Corker, R-Tenn.,
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sen.
Tim Scott, R-S.C., Sen. Lamar
Alexander, R-Tenn., and
House Committee on Foreign
Affairs Ranking Member Eliot
Engel, D-N.Y, to ensure that
lawmakers understand the
unique needs of Foreign Ser-
vice officers and their family
members. Our refrain is,
“people are more important
than programs.”
THE SHUTDOWN
Before the federal govern-
ment shutdown, AFSA was
one of the first labor unions
to organize a rally under the
slogan, “Don’t Shut Down
Diplomacy.” AFSA President
Bob Silverman addressed the
threat during face-to-face
meetings with Sen. Sheldon
Whitehouse, D-R.I. (who has
the distinction of having
three generations of family
members serve in the Foreign
Service), and Rep. Frank Wolf,
R-Va.
AFSA also worked with the
Federal Postal Coalition (rep-
resenting five million federal
employees and their fami-
lies), to send out a joint letter
to members of the House
of Representatives urging
their support for the Federal
Employee Retroactive Pay
Fairness Act (H.R.#3223). On
Oct. 5, House members
voted 407-0 in support of the
legislation.
STATES I SSUES
AFSA continues to expand
its outreach at the state level,
actively seeking opportuni-
ties to develop strategic
partnerships with local
elected officials. For decades,
FSOs and their families have
been burdened with such
complicated issues as state
residency, taxes and driver’s
licenses, to name a few.
BRAND
AWARENESS
AFSA’s advocacy depart-
ment is increasing awareness
of AFSA and the Foreign
Service by highlighting
some of our key programs,
including scholarships and
the National High School
Essay Contest (see page
49). Recently, Anandan
Amirthanayagam, the winner
of the Sheldon Whitehouse
Memorial Financial Aid
Scholarship, met with Sen.
Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
(Ambassador Charles S.
Whitehouse’s grandson), in
his district office.
Similarly, Kailee Marie
Pedersen, the winner of this
year’s High School Essay
Contest, met with Rep. Jeff
Fortenberry, R-Neb. These
are just two recent examples
of AFSA’s commitment to
inspire a new generation of
American diplomats.
Overall, AFSA is moving in
the right direction by devel-
oping innovative advocacy
and legislative strategies at
the federal and state levels
that address the immediate
needs of our members. At
AFSA, nonstop advocacy is
not just a slogan.
Please contact me at
.
n
AFSA ON THE H I L L
Non-Stop Advocacy—Not Just a Slogan
BY JAVIER S. CUEBAS, DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY
1...,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52 54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,...76
Powered by FlippingBook