While everyone who helped build support for Peace Corps funding through urging lawmakers to support March Dear Colleague letters made a significant contribution, advocates in two New England states achieved the first-ever distinction of having all members of their congressional delegation sign the letters!
The state of Maine demonstrated great bi-partisanship as the two Republican Senators (Snowe and Collins) and both Democratic Representatives (Michaud and Pingree) signed respective Peace Corps letters. Swanville resident and Korea RPCV Richard McIntyre (above, standing) met with three of those offices during the Day of Action and helped coordinate outreach and mobilization to other Maine RPCVs. "I would like all RPCVs to know that this was not difficult...what it took was to briefly meet with a staffer or the congressperson and share my interest in securing their signature. Congressional staffers have told me that they could make it happen if at least a few of their constituents requested their endorsement."
In Connecticut, the Connecticut RPCVs launched a two week phone call/email campaign and worked right up to the deadline to secure the signatures of all lawmakers. This included relentless outreach by group leader Maureen Shanley (Colombia 77-79), whose advocacy ended up having an added benefit beyond the success of the signatures. "My nephew was checking my caller ID and he asked me why I had incoming calls from the US Senate and the US Congress. I was able to teach a quick lesson on civics while impressing my nephew because he all of a sudden realized that one person's voice can make a difference."
Congratulations to all advocates in Connecticut and Maine for their special achievement!