The Room(s) Where It Happened
February 7, 2019
Rail Passengers made 375 person-to-person meetings last year during our Day on the Hill. This year, help us get to 400!
by Joe Aiello | Northeast Field Coordinator
“No one really knows how the
Parties get to yesssss
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev’ry game of chesssss
We just assume that it happens
But no one else is in
The room where it happens.”
I have mentioned in a previous blog that I’m a “union brat” organizer by heart, which is why I have a knack for town halls and various outreach events. There is another side of me that really gets a kick out of what I do for a living: I am the grandson of the late Illinois State Senator Norbert Anton Kosinski. It’s because of that section of my DNA that I understand just how important government and policy can be - and just how frustrating it all can be at times (MOST of the time really).
That little aside brings me to this week...
There really is something special about being in Washington DC, especially when you are able to spend time on the Hill. Regardless of party or politics, there is a true sense of history and wonder when walking the halls of the House and Senate office buildings. Just thinking about all the names that have roamed those very same halls is enough to make your head spin. Thanks to this job - I get to enjoy that feeling a couple times a year.
I was in town to help some of our members introduce our Association to the freshman Congressional offices and get some prep work done for the much larger RailNation and “Day on the Hill” in two months. After spending Monday catching up with fellow staff in the office, I was on the Hill all day Tuesday meeting with staff of some of the freshman members of Congress - including the office of my own first-term Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. While not every office had their dedicated transportation staffer in place, everyone I talked to over the last two days really welcomed the meetings and truly wanted to learn more about who we are and what we do.
Every staffer took notes on what we talked about and a good number of them understood just how important the reauthorization process is going to be for the future of passneger rail in this country - a process that we will be on the front lines for.
This trip has me even more energized for RailNation (now less than two months away) and we really are hitting the ground running this year at the perfect time. I let each office I met with know to expect phone calls and emails setting up meetings for April 2nd. For any of you reading this that are planning on coming to DC for RailNation (or are currently on the fence) - I’m putting out a challenge! Last year, we clocked in 375 meetings on the Hill. That's no small feat for an organization our size, and the secret to our success.
This year? Let’s hit 400.
If you haven't done so already, register for the meeting & day on the hill today.
Even if you can't join us in DC, you can still meet with your representative's local offices in your state. We've got your back on what to ask them for: look for our upcoming 2019 fact and ask sheets intended for elected officials coming this March (see the ones from 2018 here). Never reached out to your local representative before? It's easy, they work for YOU. Still, we've got a top to bottom guide that makes it simple.
There is a new Congress and a new sense hope. Let's let the Hill really hear our voice this year and not throw away our shot... (same show, different song)
“God help and forgive me
I wanna build
Something that’s gonna
"The COVID Pandemic has been and continues to be the biggest challenge faced by Americans as it has taken a deadly toll on the world and on the world’s economies. During COVID Locomotive Engineers at Amtrak and other Passenger and Freight Railroads have embodied the definition of essential workers. This dedication by our members is not new. We applaud the Rail Passenger’s Association for recognizing the vital contributions of our members and their hard work moving Americans and freight during the COVID pandemic."
Dennis Pierce, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) National President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.